Every profession gets dull after a while. Work wouldn’t be called “work” if it was fun, right? Physicians are not an exception to that. Sometimes your professional career becomes so humdrum or you are close to retirement so you just feel like making a change would mean the world. For a growing number of U.S. physicians and advanced practice workers, joining the lucrative field of travel healthcare is just the ingredient necessary for spicing up their career. After becoming a travel doctor, you are known as a locum tenens which is a Latin term referring to the acceptance of short-term assignments in various locations.
Becoming a Travel Doctor
1. Find out if travel healthcare is for you.
Before you even consider taking on a locum tenen assignment, you should make sure that it’s for you. Honestly, the locum tenen lifestyle isn’t made for everyone. But, the ones who seem to have been born for this career path, just LOVE it. A lot of older doctors love doing these kinds of assignments because they’re short term (about 3 months) and there’s no long-term commitment. Plus, they get to travel and don’t have kids they need to worry about taking care of, they can have flexible work in the years prior to retirement, etc. Physicians who are looking to gain valuable experience are also ideal candidates for the locum life. Traveling to facilities all over the country is a wonderful way to get experience in various hospital settings.
The first thing any hopeful job-seeker should do is research the positions available. With the field of locum tenens, these hospital jobs are filled with help of recruiting companies that will help you get placed and provide all the things you need from stipends for traveling to housing to bonuses. It’s crucial to do your homework and make sure you compare all the major agencies. Find one or two that have positive and strong reputations and a lot of jobs that are in the regions that you would be interested in visiting.
Once you’ve found an agency that you trust and that offers positions of interest to your needs, you need to continue your research. It is of utmost importance to be sure that you know what you’re getting into before signing onto any contract. Since the agency is in charge of payment and benefits, there’s a lot of information that you need to ask before you step into anything. Be sure you are protecting your best interests by asking about compensation, sick days, hospital information, what hours you will work, what kind of housing they offer, health benefits, stipends offered, bonuses, travel, length of assignment, etc.
3. Roll out the contract.
It’s important to know that when you sign onto a locum tenen assignment that you are aware of the severity of breaching the contract. Right off the bat, you want to make sure that you have everything written and understood. Don’t forget to save a copy for yourself. You need to know the repercussions if your contract gets terminated. For example, if you get an illness and have to miss a week of work, you may lose the contract and have to pay the money that was lost in those hours. Agencies make their money from the hospital based on the agreed hours.
4. Do it!
There’s no better time than today to look into an exciting opportunity to travel and gain experience through a locum tenen career!