What is Locum Tenens?
What you need to know about working locum tenens.
Locum tenens is one of the fastest-growing sectors within healthcare. Latin for “to hold in place of another,” locums physicians and advanced practitioners play a crucial role within the healthcare industry. These roles range from supporting understaffed facilities in rural, suburban, and urban communities to filling gaps in clinical care, all while allowing greater work-life flexibility, increased freedom, and competitive pay.
Interested, but not sure how to get started? Let us be your guide. Below are frequently asked questions to help you decide if locum tenens is right for you. Have a question that isn’t listed here? Connect with us to learn more.
What is Locum Tenens?
What physicians and advanced practitioners need to know about working locum tenens.
Locum tenens is one of the fastest-growing sectors within healthcare. Latin for “to hold in place of another,” locums physicians and advanced practitioners play a crucial role within the healthcare industry. These roles range from supporting understaffed facilities in rural, suburban, and urban markets to filling gaps in clinical care for all types of facilities, all while allowing clinicians greater work-life flexibility, increased freedom, and competitive pay.
Interested, but not sure how to get started? Let us be your guide. Below are some frequently asked questions to help you decide if locum tenens opportunities are right for you.
What does a locum tenens assignment look like?
A Latin phrase meaning “to hold the place of another,” locum tenens refers to the growing industry of temporary healthcare staffing where health professionals contract with medical facilities and locums companies for an interim period. Working as a locums physician or advanced practitioner includes a wide range of temporary healthcare opportunities, such as filling in for those on leave, helping to start a new service line, or supporting understaffed hospitals during a busy period.
Many types of facilities now use locums staffing, including urgent care centers, community care centers, private practices, and even governmental groups. It is estimated that over 90% of healthcare facilities use locum tenens as part of their workforce management.
Each assignment varies, but most range from a few weeks to a few months. Some assignments can be indefinite or as short as a few days, though these are less common.
We typically fill roles two to three months in advance, depending upon the time it takes to obtain any necessary privileges. There are occasional positions available that don’t require privileges or have a shorter privileging turnaround.
Each facility may have its own individual requirements, but our privileging and verification team can assist you with the process. There are two general requirements:
- You must be legally eligible to work in the United States.
- You must have an active medical license in the state of the assignment.
It varies widely by facility, but is primarily affected by three factors:
- The medical specialty of the locums need.
- The response time of any state boards that may need to approve licensing.
- The response time of the physician or advanced practitioner. The best way to speed up this process is to have all your documents ready to go and respond to your recruitment team promptly.
Locums positions are available in virtually all specialties, including internal medicine, emergency medicine, psychiatry, surgery pediatric medicine, occupational health, and more. You can even find opportunities within telehealth as a locums provider.
Working as a locum tenens professional offers many benefits beyond those of full-time roles, including better work-life balance, greater flexibility, the chance to experience new specialties or new areas of the country, and more. Learn more about the benefits of working locum tenens.
Because locums roles are contracted, they don’t offer the same features as a full-time employee role. They are short-term in nature, and like many contract roles, they do not include employment benefits. Locums also frequently means traveling to other locations. While traveling is typically seen as a benefit, if you don’t want to travel, ask about opportunities in telehealth or in your local area.
No. We provide malpractice insurance for the physicians and advanced practitioners we place during their specified contracted periods.
Yes, locums physicians and advanced practitioners are independent contractors. You will receive a 1099 tax form to report payments made to you for your tax filings.
Yes. We have teams dedicated to processing licensure paperwork and verifying credentials. The process for privileging varies between healthcare facilities and from state to state, but our team of experts is focused on making the process as smooth as possible.
We work with clients’ Medical Staff Offices to help you obtain privileges at their facilities. Our team will assist you with renewing any licenses required for a locums assignment and can even assist you in gaining a new state license. Once you have proceeded through our credential verification and insurance approval process, your verification will be valid for three years.
Locums positions frequently pay more per hour than full-time positions. However, that payment typically excludes self employment taxes for which you will be responsible. Hospitals in rural areas that experience physician shortages frequently pay the highest rates. See how far your pay will go in a new area with this cost-of-living calculator.
Locums physicians are paid by the hour or day, depending on the assignment. Pay is not based on the number of patients seen. You will submit regular service records, which will be approved by the healthcare facility. Our billing team will then send you your payment via direct deposit or check, depending on your preference.
You will be paid every week via direct deposit.
Travel + Accommodation
For assignments that require travel, your accommodation will typically be provided. This can include a hotel, a short-term rental property such as Airbnb, a condo, an apartment, or another option. Hotels are the most common type of accommodation.
We consider your preferences when booking accommodations and work to find you the best fit in agreement with our clients’ requirements. Housing options vary by location, with some assignments having more options than others. Our travel team will work with you to secure your preferred type and size of accommodation.
We arrange any necessary travel, including flights, rental cars, or public transportation passes as part of your placement package. If your placement is within a drivable distance and you would like to use your own car, mileage can be submitted for reimbursement.
Transportation options include rental car bookings, public transportation passes, and ride-hailing services such as Uber or Lyft.
Yes. Virtual care is a growing locums modality. Connect with us to design a telehealth experience that best fits your schedule and supports your priorities.
Physicians and advanced practitioners working telehealth will typically use their own computer or laptop for providing virtual care. If needed, a laptop will be provided by the locum tenens agency or the client.