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Lesson 3: Locums and Permanent Placement

Temporary or permanent: pick what's best for you.

More and more physicians are finding that the flexibility offered by locum tenens work allows them to live the lifestyle they want. But permanent placement can still be a more desirable option for others.

Locum tenens means “placeholder” and refers to physicians who fill in temporarily for facilities who need extra help due to a retirement, paternal leave or vacation, or high volume. These assignments can be for a weekend or long-term.

You might also consider locums-to-permanent positions which allow you to try out a facility or geographical location before signing on for a permanent role.

Permanent roles are the more “traditional” way to work, whether it be in your own private practice or larger health system.

You can also do both! Many providers work in permanent employment and spend their free time picking up shifts at local facilities as a way to earn extra income.


Benefits of working locum tenens assignments include:

Benefits of permanent placement include:

  • Establishment of long-term patient relationships.
  • Ability to put down roots in your community.
  • Camaraderie with working with the same team for many years.

Consider choosing a practice style before your search begins, or be knowledgeable and keep your options open. Whichever path you choose, make sure you gather essential information at any job before signing a contract.

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