Locum Tenens Physician Meaning
Locum Tenens Daily is your source for news and perspectives on locum tenens professionals, which may include physicians, healthcare facilities, midlevel providers, and staffing firms.
The phrase "locum tenens" is a Latin term. It means "to substitute for" or "to hold the place of". In the locum tenens industry, it refers to physicians and other healthcare professionals who provide temporary cover in hospitals and other medical facilities.
Essentially, locum tenens physicians work with facilities that have gaps in their coverage and require extra staffers to attend to their patients. Locums work is more common among rural medical facilities, but all types of hospitals may require additional help from time to time.
What is a Locum Tenens Physician?
A locum tenens physician holds a temporary position at the hospital or medical facility that they work for. Essentially, it is a form of part-time healthcare for whenever healthcare organisations have gaps in their staffing.
Many hospitals and other facilities depend on temporary staff to be able to stay on top of their patients' needs. Typically, the locum tenens staffer will work with them for only a few weeks, but can also work with an establishment for up to several months at a time.
Locum tenens physicians will often have to travel around the country depending on where they accept work. Their agency will help them find a medical facility that is a good fit for them — most physicians are paid an hourly rate and be able to negotiate where, and how much they will work.
Since locum work requires a lot of travelling and an adaptable disposition, many locum tenens physicians may receive a higher salary than their non-locum counterparts.
The Locum Tenens Industry
The locum tenens industry includes staffing agencies and other professionals who work with physicians and hospitals. As much as possible, they will try to match the physician's preferences with that of the needs of the hospital.
There are many reasons why hospitals hire locum tenens physicians:
Additional Staffing for Rural Hospitals
Rural hospitals will often choose to hire part-time healthcare staff to meet the demands of their local patients. Doctors and other staff may be in short supply in some areas.
To Cover Staff on Leave
Locum tenens physicians will often stand in for the permanent staff if they are on leave, especially if they will be unavailable for an extended period. Maternity leaves are an example of this.
Temporary Staffer while Looking for New Staff
Locum work may also be required for hospitals in need of a temporary staffer while they are looking for new staff. Circumstances vary, but some examples of these situations may include the sudden resignations, hospital expansion and the passing away of staff.
Additional Coverage During Outbreaks
Seasonal outbreaks may mean an increased demand for treatment. Hospitals will often require the help of additional staff to cover the new influx of patients.
Some hospitals require locum work because they need a physician who is well-versed in a specific field of medicine.
Every locum tenens physician has different responsibilities based on their skills, their preferences and the needs of the healthcare facility with which they will work.