Back to The VISTA Voice Blog

What Is Locum Tenens?

Medical staffing shortages have made front-page headlines for the last several years and the demand for medical services only went up during the pandemic. The Association of American Medical Colleges found that the U.S. will have a shortfall of more than 90,000 physicians by 2030. For healthcare facilities, this has resulted in significant challenges in providing care to patients at the level of staffing they had become accustomed to.

One solution that has been gaining popularity is the use of locum tenens staffing. Just what are locum tenens, how does it work, and what are the benefits to medical practitioners and facilities? Here’s a look at everything you need to know about this type of healthcare staffing.

What is Locum Tenens?

This Latin term translates to “to hold the place of” or “one holding a place,” but in practice, it refers to a very specific type of employment arrangement. It involves physicians who contract with medical staffing firms to temporarily work at client facilities. The time period is set in advance, so both the physician and the facility know when they will be parting ways.

Locum tenens physicians are independent contractors. They are paid by the staffing firm, but are not considered employees.

Locum tenens can be a great option for physicians who are looking for temporary work, as it provides a set timeframe for the assignment. It also allows physicians to experience different work settings and learn new procedures. For medical staffing firms, locum tenens is a way to fill staffing shortages and provide care to patients who need it.

How do Locum Tenens Arrangements Benefit Physicians?

There are several benefits of working locum tenens for physicians. Perhaps the most obvious is the potential to earn more money. Rates for locum tenens physicians are typically higher than those for full-time or part-time employees.

In addition, working locum tenens can help physicians:

– Gain experience in different clinical settings

– Explore new geographical areas

– Enjoy a better work/life balance

– Take on short-term assignments that fit their schedule

A locum tenens physician isn’t bound to a single facility. Instead, he or she will be sent to different locations as various opportunities arise. This leads to a wide variety of work environments, locales, patient populations, and even types of cases. There is a lot of flexibility involved when it comes to setting schedules or accepting assignments.

In some cases, a locum tenens physician fills in for a permanent medical practitioner who is on vacation. In other cases, the person will fill an opening that will only last until the facility locates and hires someone permanently for the position. Finally, there are times when an assignment is ongoing. For example, some rural medical offices are staffed entirely by locum tenens physicians.

The compensation for locum tenens practitioners tends to be high, partly thanks to the fact that practitioners need to be willing to come in on short notice. That said, the pay varies widely depending on the situation and the skills of the practitioner. A good medical staffing agency will find the best-paying assignments that match your skills.

Locum tenens agencies will work with you to get you set up with all of the credentials you need. If you travel, you’ll find it easier to get credentials in your new location thanks to this assistance. Locum tenens also helps you keep licenses and other credentials current by preventing long gaps in practicing.

Speaking of travel, some locum tenens assignments will pay you to do it. You can even plan working vacations around distant assignments.

There is an onboarding process before each assignment. You’re not expected to instantly know how a facility works or what you’re supposed to do there. Your agency recruiter will assist in the onboarding process to make it even easier.

With VISTA Locum Tenens Jobs, You Can Expect:

  • Carefully screened worksites that match your skills, experience, and interest
  • Paid professional liability insurance
  • Paid travel, housing, and local transportation
  • Help with licensure, credentialing, and securing privileges
  • Excellent compensation and no placement fees

VISTA brings over 30 years of experience helping providers make professional transitions, be it from residency to practice, from full-time to part-time practice, or from one practice to another.

How Locum Tenens Benefits Facilities

Locum tenens staffing offers your facility a lot of advantages, including:

  • Maintaining continuity of care
  • No need to worry about credentialing or privileges
  • High-quality providers without the hassle of recruiting
  • A broad range of providers to choose from
  • Filling openings quickly

A healthcare organization relies on doctors and nurses not only to provide care but to generate revenue. Locum tenens staffing ensures that neither goal is delayed when there is an opening on the staff. It also keeps patients at the facility since they won’t have to go elsewhere to continue care.

Continuity of care is important not just to your bottom line, but to your patients’ well-being. Every time there is an interruption in medical services, a percentage of people won’t resume care at any location. This can lead to negative health outcomes. By making sure that an appropriate physician is always available, you help fulfill your duty as a healthcare facility.

You don’t have to worry about the qualifications of a physician that is sent to you by VISTA Staffing Solutions. Each person we send out is vetted as to experience, clinical understanding, and credentials. You can be sure that our physicians will match your facility’s needs.

The need for medical professionals is increasing, and the supply of qualified candidates isn’t keeping up.

VISTA can fill openings quickly with our large pool of providers to choose from. This simplifies the process and speeds up the timing to get the perfect fit candidate working in your facility.

Is Being a Locum Tenens Physician a Good Fit for You?

Your personality is as much of a factor in locum tenens success as your credentials and experience. You must be flexible and adaptable. Every facility is different, and the more you enjoy the challenge of learning new routines and environments, the more you’ll find locum tenens to be a good fit.

You will often be working with high or complete autonomy. If you’re an independent kind of person who loves to be able to perform without someone checking off everything you do, locum tenens is for you.

If you’re seeking more variety and a greater sense of fulfillment, you may find it with locum tenens. You’ll meet more new people and treat a wider variety of cases than you would at a single location.

Scheduling flexibility is a must. Many facilities will have openings at odd hours or want you to work a variety of shifts. If you can handle this, you’ve checked off another important box for success with locum tenens.

If you think locum tenens may be right for you, get in touch with us today. One of our helpful recruiters would be happy to answer any questions you have and help get the process started.

Working with VISTA Staffing, The Leading Locum Tenens Agency

Before you contact VISTA Staffing, make sure that your CV is up to date and that it paints a picture of who you are as a provider, instead of just being a flat list of your education and credentials. Describe where you’ve been, where you are, and where you want to go with your career. Be sure to mention any post-graduate work you’ve completed and any professional organizations you’re part of, too.

Next, contact VISTA Staffing. A recruiter will tell you about available opportunities, what to expect when you accept an assignment and answer any questions you have.

If you choose to apply for one of the current positions, you’ll move on to your first interview. Unlike temporary staffing in many other industries, getting a specific position is a competitive process with locum tenens – so be prepared. Be prompt and thorough. Ask about the philosophy of the client practice and its values to make sure that they align with yours. Follow up with a thank-you note.

Make a list of questions for your second interview now, while they’re still fresh in your mind. If the client is impressed enough, you’ll get a call for that interview later.

The first step to getting started with VISTA is to look at our job board, and then apply on our site. We’re currently accepting physicians, advanced practitioners, and allied health professionals.

Back to The VISTA Voice Blog

Related Posts

10 Tips for a Successful Locum Tenens Assignment

Before taking on a locum tenens assignment, it’s important to understand your motivations for doing so. Are you looking for a way to ease into retirement? Do you want to earn some extra money? Or do you enjoy travel and the opportunity to work in different places? Once you know your reasons, you can better assess whether or not a locum tenens assignment is right for you.

Read More