For workers in the medical field, chances are the phrase "locum tenens" has come up before. But what is the locum tenens definition? "Locum tenens" is Latin for "one who holds a place." The phrase refers to a physician working in the place of another physician when he or she is absent, or when a hospital or practice is short-staffed.
Locum tenens physician jobs provide a way for organizations to fill positions that are either temporarily empty (due to sickness, leave, or other reasons) or for which no long-term physician is available. Locum tenens jobs also allow a professional to try (and get experience in) a wide range of work environments and geographic settings.
Locum tenens jobs are available in the US and internationally. International locum tenens in English-speaking countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda, and Canada are especially popular for American physicians because it's relatively easy to transition into a new culture with a shared language. (There are still some differences, in spite of the shared language. Medications, illnesses, and treatment protocols often have different names. Frequently locum tenens physicians are just called "locums" in these countries.)
For physicians, locum tenens jobs create a perfect temporary position for a resident who's transitioning to practice or for physicians who have decided to switch from one practice to another. In both cases, locum tenens jobs give you a chance to test the fit of a practice before you commit to a full-time position. Some physicians even use locum tenens jobs as a way to transition into semi-retirement while still earning income.
Facilities can use locum tenens physicians to ensure continuity of care and preserve their revenue streams. Many requests for coverage come from facilities or practices that are actively recruiting and need coverage until they find a permanent candidate. Other needs include peak demand coverage (i.e., tourist season or cold and flu season), coverage while a physician is on medical leave or vacation, or immediate staffing to help a facility launch a new program or service line.
Locum tenens jobs offer many benefits to physicians: more variety in medical cases, a broad array of work locations from which to choose, and the flexibility to build their own schedules. Locum tenens jobs also offer physicians a chance to travel and work in interesting, rewarding assignments across the US and internationally before they choose to settle in an area or before they decide on their next career step.
Finally, locum tenens jobs give physicians the opportunity to make an important contribution: With US locum tenens, for example, Indian Health Service assignments offer the opportunity to serve a unique population of patients and make a huge difference in people's lives. Similarly, international locum tenens placements allow physicians to help other countries with a shortage of physicians.
Locum tenens physicians work in academic institutions, community practices, government facilities, and urban hospitals—essentially, everywhere medicine is practiced. Assignments range from several weeks to more than a year. Our international opportunities are in similar practice settings, primarily in Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda, and Canada.
Locum tenens experience will enhance a physician's professional reputation—and his or her CV. The fact that a physician has demonstrated the flexibility and skill to succeed in a variety of situations is attractive to future employers and partners. Locum tenens physicians bring a depth of experience to each new situation. Locum tenens jobs also provide physicians a list of great references as they successfully complete assignments.
A locum tenens salary can be thought of as a package. For U.S. locum tenens assignments, physicians receive a competitive daily or hourly rate based on their specialty and the location of the assignment. They are compensated for call and beeper time. Travel to and from the assignment is paid for, as are housing and local transportation while on the locum tenens assignment. Malpractice insurance is also covered.
As an established locum tenens company with a 20-year history, VISTA has developed a full-service approach to helping physicians find the perfect locum tenens job. We'll help with every step of the process, from finding potential assignments to arranging credentialing and travel. Learn more about the VISTA Approach.
Facilities can benefit from using locum tenens physicians in many ways: Locum tenens can provide coverage for a physician out for a vacation or CME, help fill a position that a facility is recruiting for, or even reduce burnout of existing staff. More importantly, locum tenens physicians can help organizations ensure continuity of care for patients.
Being fully staffed means no diversions from an ED, an end to patients waiting weeks for an appointment, and/or the preservation of referral networks. Locum tenens physicians can help preserve a facility's revenue stream while ensuring patient satisfaction.
Most types of facilities and practices—including academic institutions, community-based practices, urban hospitals, rural clinics, and government facilities—use locum tenens physicians. Many contract with locum tenens physicians to ensure continued service to patients when a staff physician is out for medical leave, a personal emergency, military service, CME, or vacation. Other organizations use locum tenens physicians to optimize their staffing and ensure patient satisfaction, bringing in locum tenens during peak coverage times.
Many more use locum tenens physicians while they are recruiting because, even with a planned departure, replacing a physician can take two to three years in some areas and specialties. It's an added advantage that many locum tenens physicians are in the process of "trying out" a variety of practices before accepting a permanent position. If a temporary assignment is a great fit for both parties, the physician may accept the job permanently. In some specialties and locations long-term placements are available.
There is an extraordinary pool of talent in the locum tenens ranks, including board certified, board prepared, and experienced physicians in every medical specialty. Most locum tenens physicians fall into one of these groups:
As an established locum tenens company with a 20-year history, VISTA has developed a full-service approach to helping facilities find locum tenens physicians. In short, we'll arrange everything—from identifying potential candidates to helping with privileging and credentialing to providing professional liability insurance. Learn more about the VISTA Approach.
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VISTA Staffing Solutions is a member of the National Association of Locum Tenens Organizations (NALTO), an industry standards group established to ensure sound business practices. NALTO members are held to a strict code of ethics and dedicated to providing quality service to the health care and medical staffing industry. VISTA Staffing Solutions is a gold sponsor of the Association of Staff Physician Recruiters (ASPR), and an affiliate of the Medical Group Management Association. We're the physician staffing division of On Assignment, Inc., (NASDAQ: ASGN), one of the largest healthcare and scientific staffing companies in the US. On Assignment divisions include: Oxford Global Resources (IT and Engineering), On Assignment Lab Support US, UK, The Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland, On Assignment Clinical Research, On Assignment Engineering, On Assignment Nurse Travel, On Assignment Healthcare Staffing, On Assignment Health Information Management, and On Assignment Allied Travel. On Assignment is an Equal Opportunity Employer, M/F/D/V.