Understanding ‘locum tenens’ – Part 2

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FAQs on locum tenens


Q – Who takes up locum tenens?

A – Locum tenens physicians may come from all across the country, from metropolitan cities to remote, rural communities. The one thing most of them have in common is their suite of personality traits. Physicians who choose this path are generally personable and flexible, highly skilled, adapt easily to any situation and always ready to work. Most have an inherent sense of adventure that pulls them towards the unexpected and the unknown, which makes up a huge part of this career path. And thanks in part to the looming global shortage of medical personnel, there are always plenty of opportunities available at numerous exotic locales around the world.

Students listening attentively to their mentor Q – Why take up locum tenens?

A – Physicians across all specialties have engaged in locum tenens practice for several different reasons at various times during their careers. For newly graduated residents who are unsure about what type of practice setting is best suited for them or where they want to settle, locum tenens offers a more practical way to explore their options. Mid-career doctors may take on locum tenens positions when they are between permanent jobs or sometimes to see how other practices operate. For semi-retired physicians, this is a great way to stay in touch with their medical practice without the hassle of staying fully immersed in practice.

Q- What types of international locum tenens opportunities are available?

A – Locum tenens physicians who opt for international placements typically have two types of contracts to choose from.

One type of contract involves working in what is referred to as a stationary position. This position calls for the practitioner to work full-time for about six months or more in a single location.

The other type of contract is referred to as reliever assignment. In this position, locum tenens physicians travel to different medical facilities or private practices around a specific region. On a reliever assignment, the practitioner may spend two or three weeks at one healthcare facility before moving on to another in a neighbouring town.

Q- What are the pros & cons of locum tenens

A – For healthcare establishments locum tenens provide a ready means to fill positions that may be temporarily vacant for various reasons. For professionals, it is a convenient way to gain valuable experience and insight in a variety of work environments or specialisation fields. However, the locum situation does have a few drawbacks too. The transient nature of the job means additional work and higher stress for the locums as they have to try and fit into new situations regularly. While this may not matter much to someone who is easily adaptable, it may be a problem for someone who is less flexible in their ways. Choosing the locum path may also mean lack of guaranteed income, but that is made up for in the higher salaries that are paid out to locum doctors. 

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