Benefits of Late-career Locum Tenens Work

By Steve Barrett
Sunday, January 1, 2017

Your skills are still sharp, and you find the work fulfilling. You’re not ready to retire, but you would enjoy more free time. Reducing your hours may not be an option in your current job. Or, perhaps, you just hear the call of the open road.

If this describes your situation, you may be an ideal candidate for a locum tenens position. Here are some advantages of locum tenens work that you might want to consider, according to Jess Huckins, Managing Editor at the Peabody, Massachusetts, headquarters of recruiting and staffing firm Barton Associates:

  • Flexibility in setting your schedule
  • No long-term commitment
  • Expansive opportunities for travel
  • Support on the logistics and costs of travel
  • The freedom to focus on patient care rather than issues such as staff management

Locum tenens work by physicians late in their careers also benefits the facilities where they are employed, Huckins writes on Barton Associates’ blog. Patients gain access to seasoned clinicians, and full-time physicians at those sites gain the time necessary to update their skills.

It’s an option that appears to be increasingly attractive to physicians. Companies that recruit locum tenens physicians should see up to 9 percent growth through 2020, A.J. Rice, Managing Director at investment research firm UBS, said in an article in Modern Healthcare.


Factors Driving Temporary Physician Placements

Drawing on experience as a physician and the founder of staffing firm Onyx M.D., Robert Moghim, MD, says a number of socioeconomic and other conditions are likely to drive growth in the use of locum tenens physicians in the coming years.

“Factors that accelerate higher demand for healthcare services should correlate with increased locum tenens demands,” writes Dr. Moghim, whose company has corporate offices in Dallas and Denver. “These include things like the aging baby boomer population, higher than usual unfilled jobs and higher overall rates of chronic conditions.”

An ACA-related rise in demand for care is also playing a role, he adds.

Drilling down into the trends that are reshaping the employment landscape, Dr. Moghim cites:

  • The physician shortage. The confluence of an existing physician shortage and greater demand for services after the implementation of healthcare reform is an “unprecedented dynamic.”
  • Continued consolidation in health care. Hospital groups and conglomerates typically make greater use of locum tenens providers.
  • Reduced attrition. Companies increasingly view locum tenens physicians as a means to hold down attrition rates.
  • An improved economy. Better economic conditions, and thus higher employment, are associated with increased utilization of medical care.