Are you planning to be a career locum tenens provider after finishing your residency? If so, below are some tips you might find helpful. Don’t worry about being somewhat apprehensive. It’s normal. Just know this: the range of opportunities for locum tenens providers is vast and varied. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding great opportunities throughout your career.
Despite ‘locum tenens‘ being Latin for ‘place holder’, there is no requirement for locum tenens clinicians to only do locum work temporarily before moving into private practice or a full-time job. Some locums love the work so much that they do it for their entire careers. One of the advantages of being a locum provider is the freedom to make that kind of choice. Locums are in complete control of their careers from start to finish.
Of course, career locum tenens is not for everyone. It takes a special kind of clinician to combine the rigors of practicing medicine with the responsibilities of being a self-employed contractor. But for those who do it well, there is no better way to practice.
Start Thinking About Work Environments
A good place to start planning a locum career is to think about preferred work environments. Obviously, locums are not limited to just a single environment. They can practice in hospitals, walk-up clinics, nursing homes, private practices, group practices, and so forth. The idea here is to get an idea of what is most appealing to you.
If you really like working with seniors, you could concentrate on finding geriatric opportunities for your first several assignments. See how you like it. From there, you can fine-tune based on the types of facilities you prefer to work for. Or, you can choose a completely different environment altogether.
Establish a Record-Keeping System
You will find throughout your career that records of your work history are invaluable. As such, now is the time to establish a record-keeping system if you do not already have one in place. You will need to keep a running CV as well as records pertaining to licensing, credentialing, and any related activities – both professional and non-professional.
You will also need an equally robust record-keeping system for your finances. Remember that locum tenens providers are self-employed contractors. You’ll need a system for recording all your income, expenses, and deductions. You will need to have a system in place for paying your taxes.
Start Looking at Staffing Agencies
While some locum tenens providers find all their contracts by themselves, most go through staffing agencies. A locum tenens staffing agency can be your best friend during your job search, doing the heavy lifting of finding assignments while you are busy treating patients. Also note that you can work with more than one staffing agency. Start looking around now. Research staffing agencies, ask other doctors for their opinions, and so forth.
Learn Everything You Can
Your value as a locum will only increase as your knowledge increases. As such, make a commitment to learn everything you can. Never stop learning. Throughout your career, take advantage of continuing education opportunities. Volunteer wherever you happen to be working at any given time and look for unusual opportunities to expand your horizons. The more you know, the more valuable you will become to those facilities looking to bring on top talent.
Above all, make a point of networking whenever you have an opportunity. Networking is an excellent tool for locum tenens providers as they seek to land the best possible assignments. Sometimes it is helpful to know the right people. Getting to know those people requires networking.