What is a Locum Doctor and Why Are They Important?

What is a locum doctor? Locum. Noun. A person who stands in temporarily for someone else of the same profession, especially a cleric or doctor. Locum doctors fill temporary positions at hospitals and medical practices across the country, traditionally for a few weeks or months at a time.  There are many reasons a healthcare facility may need to hire a locum doctor. There may be someone out on maternity leave, or the facility may need someone who is skilled in a certain department to temporarily guide new, recent graduate staff. No matter the reason for the available position, locum tenens doctors are very important because they close those existing gaps in healthcare that the healthcare industry across the country is struggling with.

What is a Locum Doctor and Why Should You Consider It?

What is a locum doctor, or what kind of people are working as locum doctors? Anyone who has a medical degree and at least a year of experience working in the field can work as a locum doctor. There are positions in practically every specialty, from family practice locum tenens physician jobs to urgent care locum tenens physician jobs. There are many reasons to try a locum tenens physician job, but here are the top three things to consider if you are thinking about becoming a travel doctor!

what is a locum doctor


The most obvious consideration about becoming a locum doctor is that you will be traveling. You can take positions all across the country, so definitely think long and hard about how comfortable you are being away from home. For example, if you have children and a spouse, you might not want to leave them. However, you can also take them with you. Many locum tenens physicians are younger doctors who don’t have families and love to travel or older doctors who no longer have their families to care for and are taking the chance to see the country. Yet, there are also some locum tenens doctors who bring their entire families with them on assignment. Traveling for work is a unique lifestyle, so be sure to think about how that will fit with your current situation, whether you’re single or not. The perk to being a travel doctor, though, is that you will get to experience life in many different places.

New Experiences

The second thing to consider about becoming a locum doctor is that not only will you gain experience traveling to new places, but you will also gain experience in your professional career. Think about it. You will arrive at a new hospital and be thrown into their daily grind. Perhaps you’ll be working in a rural area where you may be required to care for patients outside of your normal specialty, simply because there is a lack of physicians available. You’ll also meet new colleagues in your field and hopefully be able to learn from them too. Your patients may wonder, “what is a locum doctor?” You’ll have the chance to show them that doctors filling temporary positions aren’t under-qualified simply because they’re unfamiliar, but are indeed talented and top-notch physicians!

Physician Shortages

Probably the most important thing to consider when thinking about becoming a travel doctor is that there is a need across the country for more physicians. By filling in temporarily, you’re alleviating that need for that hospital in particular. Since locum tenens positions need to be filled quickly, they often offer better pay than full-time doctor positions. Locum tenens doctors also seem to have a lower risk of physician burnout, since they’re not working the same job day after day, year after year.

Now that you have the answer to the question, what is a locum doctor, and understand how important locum tenens physician jobs are, consider applying today!

Author: Lenay Ruhl

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