Five Personalities in the World of Locum Tenens

When the topic of locum tenens work comes up in medical school, many a budding doctor thinks to him or herself, “what kind of person would want to work as a locum?” It is a reasonable question given the paradigm we are so used to in the American healthcare system. Knowing the answer to that question might very well be the key to deciding whether locum work is right for you or not.

Locum Doctor

The KevinMD blog lists four different types of individuals who tend to take work as locum physicians. In our experience, there are actually five. We like to refer to them as “personalities”:

1. Retired Doctors

It is not uncommon for a physician to retire from full-time practice while still wanting to be involved in clinical work in some way. Locum tenens work makes that entirely possible. The retired doctor can work occasional assignments based on what makes them happy, without having to commit to a grueling schedule and all of the pressures that come from the business side of medicine. It is the perfect way to mix a career one loves with the rest and relaxation he or she has earned.

2. New Doctors

The opportunity to work as a locum allows new doctors to see what is out there before deciding on a permanent career. Locum work is a great way to check out different locales, figure out what kind of working environment you are most suited to, and determine whether your chosen specialty truly is what you are looking for. If you go right from your residency into a permanent staff position, you might find any dissatisfaction with your work a bit more complicated.

3. Part-Timers

The part-time locum physician is what KevinMD refers to as the “dabbler.” These are doctors who need to supplement their income but also need to be mindful of family and other responsibilities. They may take short term, temporary assignments available within a reasonable distance from their homes; assignments that allow them to continue their full-time work while also bringing in a little extra.

4. Lifers

The lifers are those who, whether intentionally or unintentionally, decide to make an entire career out of locum tenens work. And trust us when we say there are plenty who do just that. Locum tenens recruiters like Vista Staffing work with lifers all the time. If you enjoy travel, new challenges, professional adventure and a constantly changing work environment, you may be a prime candidate to become a lifer. It is definitely a valid career choice that many doctors are embracing.

5. Problem Doctors

This last personality is probably one you do not want to be associated with. Nonetheless, there are some locums who find themselves having to work this way because they tend to cause problems in the facilities where they work. Such tendencies make them unemployable as permanent staff doctors. If this description fits you, you have the option of continuing with locum work or figuring out how to solve whatever problems you are dealing with.

So what is your personality? Are you the type of person that would thrive as a locum, either temporarily or permanently? If so, Vista Staffing is interested in speaking with you. There is plenty of work out there for any and all who want it.