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February 26, 2019
June 28, 2022

Five reasons why new physicians are choosing to work locum tenens


If you are a recent medical school graduate, then you understand that medicine is a demanding calling that requires a little more than just practicing medicine. Not only will you be responsible for the well-being of patients, but you must contend with the mountains of paperwork imposed by hospital and governmental regulations. You will be asked to navigate a byzantine maze of professional, personal and clinical relationships that may prove critical to your future success.

These are just a few of the concerns that have made locum tenens work more appealing for newly minted doctors. From the Latin meaning "to hold a place", locum tenens jobs are temporary assignments lasting a few days up to several months. Additionally, locum-to-permanent assignments are designed to allow the provider and facility to work together for a set amount of time (as a locum) before deciding to commit long term.

Years ago, locum tenens providers were typically older professionals who were nearing or past retirement. These days, however, more recent graduates are using locum tenens to explore and acclimate to the medical profession. Currently, almost 15 percent of the locum tenens workforce are recent graduates.

Here are some of the compelling reasons why new doctors are choosing locum tenens positions before settling into a permanent job:


Travel opportunities

After years of hard work in a classroom and residency setting, many new physicians are eager to experience life in parts of the country that may have been previously out of reach. The opportunity to travel to new communities and experience practicing medicine in new environments can enrich you.  These new experiences may also influence what kind of medicine you end up practicing.

Build your CV

Due to consolidation within the healthcare industry, the vast majority of new physicians will work as employees of large organizations. In order to distinguish yourself from the rest of the candidates, your CV needs to stand out. Locum tenens providers have the opportunity to work in diverse and unique practice settings throughout the country. This exposure allows them to enhance their medical knowledge and gain new skill sets at a much quicker rate than the traditional physician who has only worked at one or two facilities since residency.

Financial rewards

Whether you take a year off to work locum jobs, or you take on extra assignments on the weekends, the compensation can be considerable. With the average med school graduate saddled with almost $200,000 in loans, finding a way to expedite repayment is usually a high priority. Locum tenens jobs vary in their compensation, but it can grow significantly if you work in remote locations or choose overtime coverage.

Professional freedom

Locum assignments come in all types and it's up to you to decide when, where or how much you want to work. Your recruiter will send you jobs according to your preferences. Furthermore, you can choose which assignments you want, or none at all if you prefer some time to recharge.

Limited paper work

One of the biggest headaches of modern medicine is the inordinate amount of paperwork.  As a temporary staffer, your administrative responsibilities are usually ceded to permanent staff.  Not only is this less burdensome for you, but it also allows you to spend more time performing patient care.