The TheraEx Locums Blog

News and insights from our team of experts.


Myths and Misconceptions About Locum Tenens

If you are someone who is looking to shake up their career and try something new, you’ve maybe heard or thought about the Locum Tenens route. It consists of travelling to various parts of the country to have your skills utilized by hospitals in need of your extra hands. Although, there is a lot of talk in the healthcare world about this position and what it means. These myths and misconceptions about Locum Tenens can make you second guess such an expansive option, which is not something we want to be missing out on. So, let’s dig a little deeper and figure out what this gossip is all about and if the Locum Tenens life really lives up to its name.

Firstly, the Locum Tenens position consists of you taking on assignments anywhere from two weeks, to two months and even longer if you and the hospital decide. These assignments could take you anywhere, from an hour or so away to across the country. All hospitals need you to do is fill in the gaps that the hospitals or facilities need to be filled, aid patients with whatever they need and follow instructions efficiently. Furthermore, once the assignment is up, you can either whisk yourself away to another part of the country or try and stick to your current assignment. For the most part, the ball is in your court.

So, what are these myths and misconceptions we need to bust?

Is Locum Tenens Work Unreliable?

The unreliability of this position somewhat comes down to you. The Locum Tenens field is growing in all areas of medicine. “According to Physicians Practice, 90 percent of healthcare facilities use Locum Tenens physicians every year to fill positions temporarily.” This insinuates that as long as you are willing to travel and work then you will be able to find positions available to you. The most important thing is being ready to jump into any type of environment, but also understanding all of these experiences are going to help you grow immensely as a healthcare professional. New opportunities are jumping up at any moment; you just have to be ready to jump with them.

Do Locum Tenens Get Paid Well?

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: this is easily one of the biggest misconceptions of Locum Tenens. Especially because their pay is often upwards of 30% higher than that of a full-time position physician or doctor. The pay is not only competitive but is necessary when you are in high demand. One of the things to remember about this role is that hospitals and facilities need you. They are short-staffed or have an influx of patients. Therefore, they need to make sure they are paying someone with good experience and work ethic to come in and fill these spots. Not only is the pay high because of that, but you will also find the pay is reliable. It doesn’t particularly matter how many procedures you have completed or performed during your shift. As long as you are providing quality care to your patients, then you are good to go.

Can Locum Tenens Build Relationships With Their Patients?

While it is a smaller time bracket to say, a full-time doctor, Locum Tenens are actually able to spend an ample amount of time with their patients. This is due to being a temporary employee and therefore side-swiping any administrative hassles. You essentially come to work, get your work done and go home. Veteran Locum Tenens state that they are able to practice more purely and still develop good and speedy relationships with their patients. So much so, that doctors have been requested back to certain assignments because they have accomplished this.

Do Locum Tenens Work In Boring Places?

For some, being able to go to specific places to work may be the draw to Locum Tenens. However, for others, it could be the simple ability to go somewhere where you are in desperate need and the ability to help patients to your full potential. Sure, some of the places may not be like your normal popular places in California or New York, but you are doing an immense amount of good in the more rural areas. For instance, there may be situations where you are the only physician in the area, or you are the only one practising your speciality in the whole region. With patients potentially travelling miles and miles to reach medical help, you may be that doctor that has to handle anything that comes through the door. How boring could that be?

Do Locum Tenens Resumes Get Stunted?

Working as a Locum Tenens would certainly do the opposite. Imagine this. You’ve worked four separate Locum jobs this year and have had the opportunity to move to different parts of the country and therefore enter into new hospital and facility settings. In every single place you have been in, you’ve had to pick up new ways, skills, and jobs or have learned new things you never would have learned to stay in one place. What does this do? It grows your experience immensely and therefore, grows your CV. Expanding your knowledge of medicine and everything that comes along with working in a hospital is a huge step in the right direction toward what you can accomplish in the future.

Aren’t Locum Tenens More Inexperienced?

Of course, there will be doctors and physicians who are entering the Locum Tenens field right after residency. However, the same could go for being newly hired into a permanent position. An experienced Locum Tenens will have the same, if not more, experience as you. Locum Tenens need to be efficient, adaptable, hardworking and flexible. The more experienced a Locum Tenens is, the better they will be at assisting you in your facility.

With all jobs come myths and misconceptions. Although we should always be cautious, we should also make sure they aren’t the reason we aren’t at least trying. Stunting our own growth by believing gossip that’s been carried through far too many mouths just seems absurd. If you are looking for a new direction, a breath of fresh air or any sort of change, the Locum Tenens lifestyle could be perfect for you! If you have questions, please do not hesitate to click here!