Locum tenens (or temporary) employment can be an excellent solution for physicians seeking employment in a new city, particularly if your location is a desirable area where the job market may be more saturated with desirable candidates. There are many positives to locum work, including flexibility, variety, and opportunities to network with many physicians within several groups and hospitals. However, there are also several downsides to locum tenens employment.
Just as it is for freelance writers and other set-term, contract workers, the primary downside to locum employment for physicians is a lack of security. Even the most proactive locum doctor may experience gaps between positions. It is not only stressful to be uncertain when or where you will next find employment, but the amount of effort one must expend to ensure continuous employment as a locum physician can be substantial.
This lack of security is augmented by the fact that locum doctors typically do not receive employer benefits, including medical and dental coverage, vacation and sick leave, 401(k) programs, or profit sharing opportunities. While you may find that locum appointments have a higher hourly pay than permanent positions, the pay difference is often not enough to fully defray the value of a employer-provided benefit suite.
Another downside to locum employment that many overlook is the lost camaraderie a physician gains as a long-term member of a hospital’s or medical group’s staff. A permanent position affords you the opportunity to forge lasting relationships with colleagues that foster professional growth as well as friendship and a sense of place. Short-term appointments also make it difficult to build trust and rapport with patients.
Locum tenens employment can be a wonderful employment option for newer physicians who wish to gain familiarity with a variety of work environments and specialties. It is also a great solution for physicians who desire employment within a specific geographical location. What it cannot provide, however, is the stability of long-term employment. The Doctor Job can help physicians find long-term, permanent jobs in any saturated market, within some of the most desirable cities. If you value both location and stability, contact The Doctor Job to learn more about how we can help you in your job search.