A quick perusal of the history of locum tenens in America clearly shows that the locum industry has not always enjoyed the prominence it enjoys today. In fact, there was a time in this country in which locums were looked down on and thought of as second-class doctors. Things have, fortunately, changed for the better. The locum of today is now a respected member of the medical community providing a much-needed service.
It has been suggested that in excess of 80% of American healthcare providers now utilize locum staffing at least one per year. A majority of providers use them throughout the year to cover all kinds of staff shortages. As a result of the increasing willingness to bring on locum tenens staff, providers are quickly learning things they did not previously know. Five of them are listed below.
1. Locums Are Fully Qualified
Despite all the progress locum tenens has made over the last several decades, there is still an underlying belief in many healthcare facilities that locum doctors are somehow less qualified than their permanent placement or private practice counterparts. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Locums go to the same medical schools, study under the same professors, work the same residencies, and earn the same degrees. The only difference is that they choose to practice medicine on a contract basis rather than being employed traditionally.
2. Locums Work Well with Others
Healthcare providers are quickly coming to understand that locum doctors work well with others despite what they may have heard about the past. It used to be that locums were considered troublemakers who were working contract work because they could not get along well enough with co-workers to hold a job. Once again, reality is drastically different. locums work very well with other staff members; perhaps even better than their co-workers in some cases.
3. Locums Are Committed to Quality Care
One of the motivations behind working as a locum is the opportunity to practice medicine with a core focus being on the patient rather than the business end of things. As such, there is little doubt that locums are committed to providing quality care. They are every bit as interested in seeing patients live happier, healthier lives as any other doctors.
4. Locums Are Loyal to Clients
Locums need a steady stream of work to keep their income flowing. As self-employed contractors, they know that maintaining a steady stream of work requires a bit of loyalty on their part. Providers are quickly discovering that if they take care of their locums, their locums will be loyal to them. It is very much a give-and-take between the two parties. Loyalty in one breeds loyalty in the other.
5. Some locums Are Interested in Permanent Placement
Finally, healthcare providers are quickly learning that some locum tenens doctors are interested in permanent placement work at some point in the future. They may not be ready to commit right now, but there are those locums that use locum work as a way to transition into a permanent placement position over time. Others work as locums to help them figure out what they want to do before they start looking for permanent placement positions. In either case, not every locum wants to continue working on a contract basis for his or her entire career.
There are a lot of things about locums that healthcare providers are discovering. That’s a good thing. As providers and their locums learn more about what makes the other tick, their relationships will only grow stronger and more productive.