What is Locum Tenens? - How is it impacting the Healthcare Industry.
When roughly translated from Latin, it means “to hold a place of” or “to substitute for.” When seen from the perspective of the healthcare industry, Locum Tenens refers to those physicians who fill in for other physicians/ doctors/healthcare professionals who are on vacation or need some flexible scheduling on a temporary basis. The tenure for such substitute or temporary could range from a few days to up to six months, or sometimes even more.
In a nutshell, when a healthcare employer faces any sort of temporary staffing shortages due to sick leaves, vacancies, or other reasons, they hire locum tenens physicians and other part-time clinicians to fill those positions.
It is important to know here that according to a recent survey, there has been a consequential surge in the use of locum tenens physicians. Between 2009 and 2014, the number of different healthcare systems who reported using locum tenens to offset staff shortages has increased to 55% from 22%. In fact, many healthcare providers are now pro-actively including Locum Tenens in their staffing strategy instead of keeping it as a last resort.
The reasons are primarily two:
- High turnover
- Need for temporary coverage
Healthcare providers worldwide are now increasingly emphasizing on the importance of physician retention, owing to the present and estimated future physician shortage. They want to be well prepared, and this is the reason they are more and more inclined to move to Locum Tenens physicians.
Some benefits which Locum Tenens offers to healthcare providers are:
- It gives opportunities to new physicians
- They usually have a more wide experience working in different environments
- Locum Tenens physicians don’t need to be concerned with administrative hassles and hence can prioritize patient care.
- Locum Tenens is ideal for those physicians who desire flexibility
- This can mean some extra income for the Locum Tenens
- Fights physician burn out
We all agree that having control over our careers is a great thing to have. If this gives our healthcare industry some respite, why not?