In a recent 2015 Medscape Physician Lifestyle Report, physicians reported experiencing more job-related burnout than other American workers—46% of physicians reported burnout. According to the prior 2013 Lifestyle Report, 39.8% of physicians reported job-related burnout. The number is rising and the effects—physical and emotional—are widely felt among providers. The highest reported rates were among physicians working in critical/emergency care, primary care, surgery, and internal medicine. With such large reported numbers of burnout, is there a solution? Yes, and Locum Tenens is the answer.
What Is Locum Tenens?
Locum Tenens is a temporary position held by Physicians, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, and Certified Nurse Anesthetists, and offers providers short-term temporary, long-term temporary, and/or permanent positions. Locums allow post-residency, seasoned, or semi-retired providers the flexibility to take on short-term assignments, with greater control, which leads to an improved quality of life.
Why Is Burnout a Problem?
Burnout is defined as “loss of enthusiasm for work, feelings of cynicism, and a low sense of personal accomplishment.” Healthcare providers are often highly engaged with their work, sometimes to a fault. This high level of engagement can lead to the sacrifice of other areas in life. Due to high levels of work-related stress, health may begin to decline, relationships may suffer, and compassion fatigue may increase. Overall provider effectiveness is likely to decrease. Reported causes of burnout include: long hours at work; too many bureaucratic tasks; too many difficult patients; low pay; and a large patient load, to name a few.
Why Are Locums Jobs a Solution to Burnout?
Locum Tenens jobs are set for a specific amount of time and typically have an expiration date. This is often appealing to providers who want flexibility, varied experience, or a more relaxed career. A provider can choose a temporary job assignment, work hard for the specified amount of time, and then take a break when the assignment ends. Knowing there is an end in sight, with time to recover before the next assignment, helps decrease stress levels, increase compassion for patients, and provides an overall sense of well-being in all areas of life.
In addition to offering variety and an opportunity to work in different environments, Locum jobs also offer exposure to varying patient groups—different cultures and age groups. Entry-level professionals can also gain experience in different settings and with different populations while building their resumes. The diversity alone can offer beneficial learning experiences that a full-time, permanent position may not offer.
Locum Tenens offers a great solution to career burnout for providers looking for more flexibility, diversity, and less prolonged times of high stress.