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5 need-to-know facts about locum tenens


Despite the growing reliance on locum tenens assignments, many people in the healthcare sector still aren't aware about this career alternative and its many advantages. From the flexibility to the rewards, locum tenens is a growing field and offers physicians a wide range of possibilities. Vendor management software (VMS) with robust locum tenens capabilities can help healthcare systems and medical facilities leverage these roles to meet their staffing needs.

Consider these five need-to-know facts about locum tenens:

1. It's surging in popularity

With more 40,000 healthcare providers working locum tenens assignments each year, it should probably come as no surprise that 90 percent of facilities use locum tenens physicians annually.

There are quite a few reasons why this has been experiencing an upswing in popularity. For one, locum jobs on average can pay between 33-50 percent more than permanent positions, according to Locum Story.

Locum tenens assignments are growing, due to flexibility and higher pay.Locum tenens assignments are growing, due to flexibility and higher pay.

2. It's evolved since it began

The practice of using locum tenens physicians originated in the 1970s to fill short-term workforce needs. These temporary medical staffing solutions typically involved a one- or two-week stint at a hospital, with the locum tenens physician covering an on-staff doctor's absence or vacation.

In the ensuing 40 years, the practice has evolved to encompass much more than short week-long assignments. Many locum tenens assignments last several months, with some going as long as year. Whether it's to fill a gap while a healthcare organization searches for a permanent hire or simply to bulk up the staff during high-volume seasons, locum tenens assignments now serve many different critical purposes.

3. It helps with credentialing

Locum tenens can be a great route for physicians seeking ways to expedite credentialing and licensing. Many agencies can make these processes easier through already established relationships with state boards. This allows physicians to build up their professional networks. Some agencies even cover the costs of licensing.

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) introduced the Medical Licensure Compact in 2013, which allows physicians to practice in 22 participating states without having to go through each state's medical board to apply for a new license. Not only does this allow for physicians to accept distant assignments on short notice, it opens up opportunities for doctors to more easily gain certifications and credentialing in new locations.

4. It provides more flexibility

"Physicians can choose to work part- or full-time assignments."

One of the biggest drivers of locum tenens assignments are their flexibility. Many physicians have become exhausted from the constant pressures of practicing full-time in a hospital system, often having to work overtime with fluctuating schedules. This leads to high stress, burnout and a decline in the quality of patient care.

Locum tenens provides physicians with more flexibility in choosing when, where and for how long they work. Physicians can choose to work part- or full-time assignments, or follow a schedule that best aligns with their personal lives. Whether it's a permanent position, a recurring assignment or a mix of different arrangements.

With more freedom to craft a schedule to their choosing, it provides a much better work-life balance than normal physician jobs. Plus, it allows full-time physicians pick up additional shifts if they need it.

5. It's easier than ever to use

Performing candidate searches for locum tenens physicians with the right qualifications and certifications was much more difficult in the past. The process required significant time and capital to conduct, and there weren't always successful results.

Currently, though, healthcare organizations and staffing agencies have access to sophisticated VMS platforms that offer best-in-class recruiting and staff scheduling functionality for quick and easy locum tenens utilization.

Click here to learn more about how BlueSky Medical Staffing Software makes finding and placing locum tenens physicians a breeze.