Myths & facts regarding locum tenens – Part 1

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Many less experienced physicians hesitate to apply for locum tenens positions even if they want to, simply because they believe that companies would prefer to take on someone with more experience.

On the internal medicine ward in India Older physicians in the middle to late stages of their careers also hesitate but they do so because they believe that companies would prefer to hire younger applicants who are in their twenties or thirties. The truth however lies somewhere in the middle. Age and experience are hardly ever the sole determining factors when it comes to being hired but belief in fallacies like the ones above act as major stumbling blocks for physicians who would have otherwise enjoyed the challenges and benefits that a locum tenens position offers. 

Here are some of the more common myths surrounding locum tenens jobs and the truth behind them.


 Employers are generally reluctant to hire any applicant for a regular, full-time position, if they had quit their earlier permanent job for a locum tenens position.


 It is only those employers who are not familiar with this term who may initially question your competency or your motivation for taking on temporary positions. For the most part however, you will find that it is more likely to enhance your CV. The majority of potential employers look upon the experience favourably as it means you can adapt quickly and efficiently to new situations and also you would have had the opportunity to learn new procedures and techniques, which would benefit them if you were on their payroll.



 You would have to use equipment and techniques that you are not familiar with.


It’s rare that a medical facility will ask their staff to work with equipment or techniques they are not familiar with. Patients’ lives are at stake and no establishment will want to take that risk. When applying for any position, your application and resume will clearly state your skills. If an organisation is looking for a professional with specific proficiencies, they will definitely discuss this criterion with you before taking you on. If you cannot meet their criteria, they may choose not to hire you or if they hire you, that particular task will be taken off your responsibilities. Your contract will clearly state your responsibilities and tasks. Besides, using any medical equipment that you are not licenced to operate can cost you your licence and all establishments are aware of this.   



Locum tenens providers are generally not well accepted by the permanent staff at most establishments.


This may have been true at a time when there were no jobs available. Today, with the global shortage of medical professionals, locum tenens physicians are widely welcomed by permanent staff members who are grateful and relieved to have the extra help. In more and more organisations, administrators as well as colleagues regard locums as an essential part of their team. If you are adaptable and respectful of their ways, no matter how different they may be to yours, the local staff will be more appreciative of your help and are more likely to ask for a repeat engagement when the need arises.  

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