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Guide to Locum Tenens

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Today, many physicians and advanced practitioners are feeling drained and in need of a change. Unpredictable schedules and extended hours for consecutive days without time off can leave essential providers at a physical and mental disadvantage. Positions that offer more autonomy can seem impossible to come by and like more of a dream than reality.

Working locum tenens might be an excellent next step for a healthcare professional looking for more flexibility. The ability to travel and work on an assignment basis keeps work interesting and helps guard against burnout.

Here’s a guide on how to get started working locum tenens and what to expect.

What Is Locum Tenens?

Latin for one holding a place, locum tenens refers to a staffing solution that fills contract positions in hospitals and other medical settings. Physician and advanced practitioners like physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and certified registered nurse anesthetists travel across the country to work where they are needed. It’s an excellent way to travel, meet new people, and encounter a different group of patients and colleagues. It can be the ideal way to jump-start a career or revitalize an existing one.

Who Works Locum Tenens?

Medical professionals from every specialty and across the world have the opportunity to work locum tenens. A resident may opt for a locum tenens position as a first job to get some experience before settling into a practice. A mid-career nurse practitioner who’s looking for flexibility might choose locum tenens as a way to feel fulfilled by going where they are most needed. A physician planning to retire may find that locum tenens work is a rewarding way to round out a long career. Finally, a physician assistant at any stage who is interested in moving into part-time work or who wants a better work/life balance could find success going the locum tenens route.

Anyone who is committed to quality healthcare is a good candidate for working locum tenens.

How Do You Get Started?

The best way to get started working locum tenens is to contact a locum tenens staffing agency. An experienced recruiter will inform you about available opportunities, explain what you can expect when you accept an assignment, and answer any questions you may have.

If you choose to explore your locum tenens possibilities further, you will be guided through the process of gathering documents and filling out forms. You will be matched with opportunities, as they become available, where your skills are needed. You have the option of accepting a position in a place where you have always wanted to travel.

Creating a CV

Before you meet with a recruiter, create or update your curriculum vitae. Your CV is your chance to paint a picture of who you are as a provider. In addition to information about your education and experience, it should describe where you have been and where you want to take your career. Your skills, qualifications, and accomplishments are enhanced by mentioning professional organizations you belong to and any additional post-graduate training you received.

An attention-grabbing CV will exhibit why you are the right candidate for the job.

Interviewing tips

Think of the interview as a chance to learn if all parties involved would benefit from a working relationship. While you are trying to sell yourself, the interviewer is doing the same. So be honest about what you expect and what you are willing and qualified to do as a provider.

Remember to be prompt, thorough, and prepared. Ask about the philosophy of the practice to learn if your values fit with the organization’s culture. Follow-up with a thank-you note and make a list of any additional questions you might have about the position should you be invited for a second interview.

Licensing and credentialing

Your locum tenens partner can help you secure proof of licensing and credentialing. However, some states waived the requirements during the pandemic, so it is best to contact the appropriate agency to stay current.

For over 30 years, VISTA has been credentialing and licensing providers, providing credential verification, privileges, education/training, certifications, including partnering with a company to provide the necessary licenses, and more.

Because you are contracting independently when you work locum tenens, you must prepare for taxes as a sole proprietor or independent entity. Items such as medical equipment, work-related clothing, insurance premiums, and medical journals are tax-deductible expenses. Therefore, you must keep records of all expenses and physical receipts as proof.

Consult a financial advisor or tax professional to make sure you are within legal bounds of tax reporting and taking advantage of all allowable deductions.

VISTA Can Help Navigate All Scenarios

If you entered the medical field to make a difference, locum tenens employment might be the difference you need. A locum tenens staffing agency like VISTA can help you learn about opportunities and navigate the landscape.

For those who love to travel or are ready for change, a locum tenens position offers competitive compensation, career advancement, and the opportunity to work with new people in a new location. In addition, VISTA provides:

  • Carefully screened work sites
  • Paid professional liability insurance
  • Travel and housing expenses
  • No placement fees

Healthcare providers can live and work where they please and enjoy predictable schedules with fewer administrative duties. Sometimes temporary positions develop into permanent ones.

Locum tenens is an excellent remedy for burnout. Representing over 60 specialties, VISTA has opportunities you are looking for in your field. New jobs are posted daily, so consult the VISTA job board to learn about openings.

Download our complimentary e-book, “Guide to Locum Tenens,” or talk to a VISTA recruiter about partnering with us to find your next adventure.

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