Various narratives have been created to describe the life of a Locum Tenens and your view on the role may be blurred because of them. Some professionals view Locum Tenens as purely a temporary role, fast coming and fleeting. Others regard it as a temporary position, only completing a few assignments and then venturing back into a traditional permanent one. Others view it as a quick stop-over until something more solid shows up. While for some, these narratives may be exactly the case in their lifestyles, for others, the Locum Tenens world is changing and opening up a path to long-term success.
If we ignore the grey area for just a moment, we can see that in 2019, 85% of healthcare facilities utilized Locum Tenens to fill in the gaps that were needed to be filled. Now, we can still see the trend continuing strong as in 2022 it has rolled over to 88% through the same survey made by AMN HealthCare. They officially stated, “The majority of healthcare facilities (88%) used Locum Tenens physicians or other Locum Tenens providers sometime during the last 12 months.” Which is a staggering number considering a role viewed as such a non-permanent position.
For that grey area. Historically, yes, the Locum Tenens job was just to fill the shoes of someone who needed to be out of the office for a while and grab some hours here and there. Though in today’s Locum Tenens lifestyle, you could be looking at a role that provides a great work-life balance, earning power, freedom, independence, flexibility and of course, adventure! In saying this, there are many reasons you may want to jump into the lifestyle. If your reasoning’s could be because of student loan debt, wanting to gain financial stability earlier on in life, needing a change in your course or simply taking the opportunity to travel the country. Then not only is Locum Tenens perfect for you, but you could also turn it into a full-time career.
Let’s break this down. Firstly, does a Locum Tenens position require you to take on temporary assignments lasting anywhere from a couple of weeks, to a couple of months or on some occasions more? Yes. So how does that transfer into a full-time career?
Being Open To The Opportunities
When entering into this position, the first question you are typically asked is what type of assignment you would like to have. What position, what goal, what part of the country and maybe even how long are all valid starting points. However, by doing this, you are also limiting yourself. If you can be open to more opportunities that arise and not stick yourself to one type of assignment, you could find yourself with a fuller schedule. Do your best to branch out and open yourself to opportunities in a different setting, facilities, patients, etc. You won’t only find yourself a part of some amazing opportunities but taking on a full-time role.
Often in these circumstances, hospitals need to find staff swiftly. There isn’t time to take months to find someone to fill a position when patients are waiting to be helped. Although positions are usually organized weeks or months in advance, it’s a solid idea to have yourself ready to move when needed. This can be done by structuring your life in a way that makes it easy for you to relocate at a moment’s notice. Common ways you can make this easier for yourself is by staying organized with your paperwork, getting any paperwork completed while at your current assignment, packing light, keeping your purchases to a minimum in each assignment and knowing all the tips and tricks of travelling in order to lessen any stresses. Most importantly though, you need to keep that – sudden changes are okay – mentality. It can be uncomfortable at first, but once you are used to the process, each assignment can be an exciting experience.
Solidify Your Reputation
WHO you are as a Locum Tenens can provide you with an up in each assignment. Are you someone who is upbeat? Someone who works hard and smart? Someone who is able to make your coworkers and patients comfortable, seen and heard? All of these qualities of your personality can either have you being asked back by hospitals or put you in a great position when new assignments are coming. While you are on each assignment, make sure you build relationships, network with those around you, persist in your growth and learning and build a solid reputation. When wanting to keep your schedule full, you always want to be a desirable candidate.
A process that you may want to start immediately once you realize that Locum Tenens is a career that you would like to take on full-time, become a license collector! Not officially of course, but collecting licenses from different parts of the country opens up your assignment options considerably. Even if you don’t end up in the state you received a license from, some physicians find themselves with 10 – 30 licenses. It’s a tedious process, but don’t worry; your recruiter can help you along.
Strengthen Your Recruiter Relationship
Speaking of recruiters, they are going to be your eyes and ears on the road. They are able to get you assignments, fill your schedule, help with all of the nitty-gritty paperwork and help you transition smoothly. They are your right-hand Wo/man, so making sure your relationship with them is strong should also be a priority. Here at TheraEx Locum, we work to build trust in relationships between recruiter and Locum Tenens, providing you with the best opportunities we can find you.
The Locum Tenens world has opened up to a range of opportunities. If wanting to pursue this path as a full-time position is one of them, then it absolutely can be. It’s more about setting yourself up so you are in the best position to do so. If you can do all of the things above, then you too can receive the perks of flexible hours, a fantastic income, travelling the country and meeting some incredible people. Doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, does it?