If I were picking the location of my next locum tenens job, I would look for fun city life including good food, a beach, nightlife, and maybe a cool music scene. However, those factors should not be your primary focus when deciding on a locum tenens opening. Though the beaches of Florida or Seattle’s Space Needle can be tempting, here are some important questions to ask when searching for a satisfying locum tenens assignment.
Why are you taking this locum tenens assignment?
What is the reason that this locum tenens position is available? Are you filling in to help with a physician shortage? Are you filling in for a person who has recently left? Are they on vacation or maternity leave? Or are you filling in for someone who quit his or her extremely stressful employment? Don’t forget to evaluate their eagerness to come back to work, because that will be a pretty good precursor to your experience at work as well.
Is the hospital experiencing growth?
While most healthcare organizations are already short on physicians, if the hospital you are assigned to is growing, they may be even more desperate to fill locum tenens assignments. Perhaps a growing healthcare organization could mean that you will get the opportunity to learn a new skill or work in a new facility.
Who else is connected to the hospital?
Networking can help immensely, whether you plan to take another locum tenens assignment or find a permanent position in the future. Is the healthcare organization owned or affiliated with an organization you have had experience with? Do you know other people that have worked at this healthcare organization that can give you an insider’s perspective of what it is like to work there?
Can you get to know some of the healthcare professionals that are already working there? Perhaps you could contact them online via social media. They would be able to best answer any questions you have about working at that organization.
Will the medical director or staff physician make time for you?
In the medical field everyone is busy, but do they even have time to explain the position before you take it? When you are interviewing and talking with top staff, take note to how they talk to you. Do they listen to your questions and ease your qualms? Are they never available to get back to you, or do they flat out ignore you? If they cannot make time for you while wanting to hire you for a locum tenens assignment, you can bet that is how your experience will be for the duration of your assignment.
Putting it all together
Everyone is going to have different priorities on what they want out of their locum tenens assignment. Some don’t care quite as much if they fit in with the organizational culture as long as everyone is civil, and they can get their job done. On the other hand, for others, the environment and culture that they work in will weigh heavily on their decision to accept a position.
When deciding on your next locum tenens assignment, yes, it is important that you are living in a place where you can still do all the things you love. But while you’re looking up the local nightlife, good eats, and best breweries to visit, do not forget why you’re traveling in the first place.