How do I Find Locum Tenens Jobs?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 27 January 2019
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There are numerous ways to become a locum tenens doctor. This is a doctor who works on a temporary basis for a hospital or other facility. Temporary can be defined in various ways, including daily, weekly or monthly. Most locum tenens jobs are obtained through using private placement agencies, and doctors may use one or more of these staffing agencies to find jobs they are interested in taking.

There are some specialties and types of practice that more easily land locum tenens jobs. The highest demand continues to be for family practitioners, but there is a growing demand for general surgeons. Other practitioners that appear to be most likely to find jobs include psychiatrists, radiologists, and anesthesiologists. It is possible to find work in other areas, but there may be fewer jobs from which to choose.

A less usual way of finding locum tenens jobs is through word of mouth or networking. Most hospitals particularly prefer to work with agencies because these tend to handle sticky paperwork aspects. These can include applying for hospital privileges and maintaining a doctor’s license in several states. Agencies may also find housing for locum tenens jobs, and they usually maintain a doctor’s malpractice insurance. When hospitals are searching for doctors to fill locum tenens jobs, it usually simply easier to work with agencies that have a proven record of taking care of the details.


Of course, there are downsides to locum tenens jobs obtained from agencies. One of these is slightly smaller rate of pay, since each agency will take a cut of the total pay the hospital or medical facility gives. Many also criticize the practice of using agencies to staff jobs because it drives up medical costs. Doctors are still reimbursed well, but so are the agencies, and this means places like hospitals may have to pay much more to employ temporary doctors.

Nevertheless, there are many physicians who seek locum tenens jobs because sustaining a private practice can be unprofitable or difficult. They would prefer to set their own hours, take or leave jobs that appeal, and not have the paperwork nightmares associated with working privately or even working for a hospital on a permanent basis. Others use locum tenens placement agencies in order to secure permanent work, but this occurs less frequently.

In looking at agencies, doctors can start by getting advice from other physicians who use them. The interview process with any agency may give a doctor a sense of what agencies are most looking for, and its fine to ask direct questions of an agency about rate of staffing certain specialties, years of experience, types of jobs and shifts offered, and areas of the country in which agencies staff the most jobs. Inquiring about the degree of support available to the physician and what services the agency offers (like help with obtaining multi-state licenses), is important too. It’s fine to keep an eye out for an agency that might provide better opportunities but usually the biggest guide to finding a suitable agency is by determining comfort with it, checking the agency’s credentials, and matching the specific agency to meet needs of the physician.



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