You decide that a change of pace in your medical career is what you need. Someone suggests you try working as a locum tenens doctor. You might stop and wonder what locum tenens is.
The Latin term, locum tenens refers to doctors who work on a temporary basis. They usually fill in vacated positions in hospitals or other healthcare facilities. The assignments are usually short-term but there are locums who accept long-term placements.
Most doctors prefer working as locum tenens or freelancers for several reasons:
1. Rates offered to locum tenens doctors are often higher;
2. Flexibility in work schedules and freedom to choose work hours;
3. Travel opportunities
4. Unhindered by the usual politics in hospital or other facilities;
5. Opportunity to work in different healthcare environments.
What to do When You Land a Locum Tenens Job
It is important to prepare before you launch into your new adventure as a locum tenens physician. You can’t walk into a hospital, clinic or facility thinking that you know what to expect.
Speak to a member of the medical team and learn from their experience. Find out what you need to do and what you need to avoid.
Be familiar with the area around your workplace. Whether your assignment is short-term or long-term, it helps to know the neighborhood.
Do not bring your documents with you. You may have all necessary papers collated and well-organized. But it will be more convenient to keep digital copies. Scan them and upload in a secure site. It will be easier to access them from anywhere.
It is also important to be aware of your tax breaks. As a freelancer, it means you are an independent worker. It will be your responsibility to report your earnings.
Before the term for your current assignment ends, you may want to start looking for your next job ahead of time.
Working locum tenens might be a good step for you. Take the plunge. As long as you know what to expect, you will enjoy its benefits. If in doubt, there are resources online that can help you every step of the way.