Are you interested in a locum tenens assignment? Are you overwhelmed by the number of locum staffing agencies to choose from? More often than not, hospitals and medical practices are in a hurry to hire locum tenens physicians to fill gaps in care. This means they are forking out big bucks to find qualified professionals. The healthcare organizations may work with multiple recruiters and staffing agencies who are paid to qualify leads and fill job openings. This means they’re all looking for someone with your skills and experience. Chances are they are competing for you to pick them. Below are five tips for choosing a healthcare staffing agency and negotiating your contract terms.
Five Tips for Choosing a Healthcare Staffing Agency
1. Check the Agency’s Credibility
How do you find out if a locum tenens placement agency is reputable? Start by checking to see if they’re a member of the National Association of Locum Tenens Organization (NALTO). NALTO helps set industry standards and ethical guidelines for locum recruiters while offering continuing education services and networking forums for locum tenens and recruiters alike. You should also check out the staffing agency’s website, ask for references from locum tenens who already worked with the company, and contact several other agencies to compare work practices.
2. Ask Questions About Assignment Details
The hiring agency will provide you with a detailed report of your role and responsibilities, hours, work environment, work schedule, on-call schedule, etc. Make sure you have all the information you need and develop a solid understanding of the assignment and contractual details. Negotiate terms suited to your needs to guarantee a healthy work-life balance. When you’re going through this process, pay attention to the sincerity coming from the agency staff. If they seem to avoid certain questions or are unsure of answers, this is a red flag when choosing a healthcare staffing agency.
3. Know What Benefits They Offer
Some locum tenens staffing agencies offer to pay certain expenses such as travel to and from your locum tenens assignment, a car rental for your daily commute, and/or a daily stipend to feed yourself while on duty. Ask the locums recruiters which expenses are covered and/or reimbursed. In addition to expense benefits, many staffing companies also offer housing stipends as well. When choosing a healthcare staffing agency, make sure you not only compare pay but also additional benefits. Just because some offer higher rates than others, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best deal. Make sure you’re considering the entire contract before making a decision.
4. Make Sure They Offer Malpractice Insurance
It is important that you have medical malpractice insurance. Most organizations provide a ‘claims-made’ policy which covers a physician for all incidents that occur and are reported during the active period of the policy. Many malpractice claims are made well after the incident and would not be covered under the claims-made policy unless the staffing agency purchases an extended reporting endorsement or ‘tail’ coverage. Be sure to get a copy of the policy to read and understand all the details of the agency’s coverage.
5. Find People with Integrity
The best staffing agencies are the ones you can trust. You’ll know the right locum tenens recruiter when they go above and beyond expectations to land you the perfect assignment. It is also important that they touch base with you along the way to make sure that things are going smoothly. If you are talking with a recruiter and they are slow to get back to you, you probably want to look elsewhere. It’s important that they are readily available when you need them. Also, keep in mind that communication is a two-way street. You should be clear about your needs and what you are looking for. Often times, you’ll end up picking your agency based on your relationship with a recruiter.
What are some additional tips for choosing a healthcare staffing agency? Share with us in the comments below!