Locum or locum tenens refers to a temporary worker who does the job of someone who is unable to report for work.
The same term is applicable for physicians. If the regular doctor is absent, a locum tenens physician can take over the duties of that person. It can also be a doctor who does tasks in a hospital or practice that is short in staff.
Locum doctors or freelance general practitioners are usually part of locum agencies. Some of these doctors work through freelance general practitioners chambers.
These practitioners should be able to adapt to any situation without a problem. They should be excellent problem solvers, quick to think of solutions to any crisis.
Temporary or short-term staffing is nothing new in the healthcare industry. It’s a solution that has been helpful in resolving shortage in staff.
Changes in Locum Tenens
Over the years, there has been an increase in the demand for locum tenens. There has also been noticeable changes. In the past, locum tenens doctors had worked at a span of one or two weeks. Lately, the duration of placements are longer, usually lasting for months.
Locum tenens physicians before only worked on a freelance basis. But freelance doctors these days are likewise employed physicians. They can choose to work extra shifts for added income.
Pros and Cons in Working as a Locum Tenens Doctor
A locum tenens doctor has the advantage of working in different work environments. This allows them to gain experience in several specialization fields. An employee working in a permanent status may not have the same opportunity.
Working as a freelancer can have its disadvantages. Constant changes in work environment and adapting to different situations can be stressful. Due to the flexibility required, a locum tenens doctor may expect higher compensation. This may lead to increase in costs for organizations that hire temporary doctors.
The healthcare industry is evolving. Continuous need for staffing makes the future look promising for locum tenens doctors.