Locum tenens work is getting a lot of attention these days. As the demand for locums tenens jobs rises, the number of clinicians willing to work as temporary assignment fillers is on the rise too. That is a good thing. But doctors new to the locum tenens field need to be smart about what they are doing. They need to go into locum work with their eyes wide open and their minds willing to think about things in new ways.
A good starting point for new locums are the following five undeniable truths of locum tenens work:
1. There Are Good and Bad Recruiters
The locum tenens industry is fueled by recruiters and staffing agencies who contract with employers to find clinicians. Here’s one thing every new locum must understand about recruiters and staffing agencies: the nature of their work results in an unavoidable conflict of interest. On the one hand, they are attempting to look out for the best interests of their clients while, on the other, they have to look out for their doctors as well. Both parties have to be kept happy.
The end result of this unavoidable conflict is that it produces both good and bad recruiters. Most are very good at what they do, finding a way to walk that fine line between doctor and employer. But there are some bad recruiters as well. It is part of the game. New locums may have to experience one or two bad recruiters before they find one that’s really good.
2. There Are Good and Bad Employers
Just as there are both good and bad recruiters, there are also good and bad employers. Every locum will, at some point in his or her career, work at a facility that is so bad that he or she vows never to take another assignment there again. There will also be those facilities that the doctor absolutely loves. The beauty of locum tenens work is that doctors have the freedom to choose their assignments. They can avoid the bad employers while fully embracing the good.
3. Boutique Agencies Are Not Necessarily Better
Smaller recruiting agencies that market themselves as boutique agencies try to give the impression of being a better option because they focus on less popular specialties. The truth is, a stronger indicator of the quality of a recruiting agency is the clients it contracts with. That’s really what matters at the end of the day anyway. New locums should just be aware that boutique agencies are not necessarily better because they are smaller and more concentrated around certain specialties.
4. Locum Clinicians Are Ultimately Responsible
Recruiting agencies and employers inside, new locums should understand that they are ultimately responsible for their own careers. Locums are self-employed contractors by the letter of the law. As such, they have both the freedom and responsibility of making their careers whatever they want them to be. If you are new to the locum field, no one is going to hand you success on a silver platter. You have to go out and make your own success. The good news is that locum tenens is an excellent platform for doing just that.
5. Locums Do Have Bad Days
Despite how often locum tenens medicine is described as all sunshine and roses, the fifth undeniable truth is that locums have bad days. No job is perfect. But a willingness to stick it out and push through often comes with great rewards. So even when things get tough as a locum, the wise doctor never loses sight of why he or she chose this line of work.