By Christine Whitmarsh, RN, BSN
Locum tenens has travel doctor assignments in general and specialty medicine across the country. Two types of locales hardest hit by the physician shortage are rural and inner city areas. The American Medical Association reports that at least 16,000 physicians are needed to help serve the more than 35 million people who live in rural, inner city and other areas needing physicians and travel physicians the most. The government estimates that 24,000 additional physicians may be needed by 2020 to address the growing shortage (AP).
A contributing reason to the nation’s shortage of physicians in inner cities is the government’s post 9/11 restrictions on foreign doctors who filled many of these positions before 2001. Although the renewal of the J-1 Visa Waiver program, which allows foreign physicians trained in the U.S. to stay in the country while working in inner city, rural and other undeserved areas, was renewed earlier this year. Each U.S. state receives 30 J-1 waivers each year. Another similar cause of the physician shortage in inner cities is that many foreign trained physicians are needed more (and are therefore remaining) in their home countries.
In rural areas, the greatest needs are for general, family and internal medicine doctors and pediatricians. With an estimated two percent of graduating medical students going into family practice (AMA), this is an area where Locum physicians can have a very positive impact. Rural areas can also offer travel doctor assignments that are extremely attractive to physicians who enjoy outdoor leisure activities and are ready to take a much needed break from fast-paced urban medicine.
There are locum jobs currently available for physicians of all backgrounds and specialties, in rural, inner city, suburban and every other type of environment.
Christine Whitmarsh is a Registered Nurse with a BSN from the University of Rhode Island. She is a freelance health journalist and medical writer and a contributor to Travel Nurse Source and Allied Travel Careers.