Locum, short for the Latin phrase locum tenens (lit. "place-holder," akin to the French lieutenant), is a person who temporarily fulfills the duties of another. For example, a Locum doctor is a doctor who works in the place of the regular doctor when that doctor is absent, or when a hospital/practice is short-staffed. These professionals are still governed by their respective regulatory bodies, despite the transient nature of their positions.So, why are so many physicians exploring locum tenens opportunities? Let me give you a few of the reasons that I've observed:
1. First, there are many physicians who are struggling with reimbursement issues. Therefore, they're using locum tenens to effectively "moonlight" and supplement their income so that they don't have to close their practice. It seems like the idea of moonlighting isn't only for residents. Many working in private practice have overhead expenses that are too high and they're trying to maintain an active (and expensive) lifestyle so they end up finding weekend opportunities to fill in for other physicians.
2. Another reason why locum tenens is gaining so much popularity is because physicians like to travel and they want to explore different parts of the country or the world. This is especially true for those who are single and who aren't tied down by family. They're working in different states and countries and when they're not working, they're actively exploring. Who says you need to wait until retirement before you travel around the world?
3. Some physicians really enjoy the flexibility of locum work. Perhaps they don't need to work full-time through the year. Maybe they'd rather take a really long 2-month vacation. You can't do that if you're locked into a standard employment contract that only allows you to have 4 or 6 weeks of vacation.
If you're interested in learning more, you can find a variety of Physician Employment opportunities by visiting LocumsPractice and signing-up for a basic membership.