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5 Locum Specialties with the Highest Demand

Posted by VISTA Staffing on Nov 18, 2015 10:52:00 AM


Demand for locums continues to be high throughout the medical community. Hospitals and medical clinics alike are coming to realize that locums provide valuable services for filling temporary staffing gaps, expanding services, and handling emergencies. In light of that, Beckers Hospital Review put out a 2014 list of locum specialties with the highest demand. Rankings were the result of data compiled from responses to staffing agencies provided by hospitals, medical groups, community health clinics, and government facilities.

The 2014 ranking showed the following five locum specialties in highest demand:

#1 – Primary Care

Primary care's number one ranking should not be a surprise to anyone. The acute shortage of primary care physicians is being felt nationwide across cities and towns of all sizes. It is not just in rural areas either; areas that have long struggled to find an ample supply of primary care physicians to serve local residents. Just over 28% of the survey's respondents had need of primary care locums.

#2 – Behavioral Health

Behavioral health clinicians came in at number two with 24.12% of respondents utilizing them. Unlike mental health, behavioral health is a medical field that treats mental wellness from both a biological and extemporaneous view. Locums in this field can be involved in treating a full range of conditions including substance abuse, addiction, anxiety, and stress.

#3 – Hospitalists

The only surprise with hospitalists being on the list is that they ranked below behavioral health professionals. There is a growing demand for hospitalist physiciansas the industry seeks to move away from private practice into group practices owned by hospital groups. Doctors are embracing that shift as well. More and more doctors are choosing to work as hospital employees in order to practice medicine without having to worry about business. Just over 24% of the respondents said they have utilized hospitalist locums.

#4 – Emergency Medicine

There appears to be a growing need for locums in emergency medicine. While there are many theories as to why there is a growing need for Emergency Medicine locums, in any case, the nation's emergency departments are clearly short where doctors are concerned. The survey revealed just over 14% of respondents make use of emergency medicine locums.

#5 – Surgery

The extensive use of surgical locums is a bit surprising given that surgical specialties are so popular among graduates. Nonetheless, 14.12% of the facilities utilizing locums called on surgeons to fill staffing gaps. The survey did not report any details about specific procedures that might be more needed than others.

Locum Tenens NPs

The Beckers report showed that the greatest single year increase between 2012 and 2013 was in the area of locum tenens nurse practitioners. They jumped from 4.8% in 2012 to an astounding 12.35% the following year. The three-fold increase is a direct result of the states beginning to relax their restrictions on NPs capable of providing primary care. NPs are now more likely than ever to work alongside doctors or practice independently in their own offices or through local pharmacy chains.

One thing is clear among all locum specialties: the demand for locum tenens staffing will only increase as time goes on.


  1. Beckers Hospital Reviewhttp://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-physician-relationships/6-...

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About VISTA Staffing Solutions

Founded in 1990, VISTA Staffing Solutions helps hospitals, medical practices, and government agencies in the US optimize their physician staffing, ensure quality and continuity of care for patients, and maintain financial stability. A leading provider of US Locum Tenens and Permanent Physician Search Services, VISTA has over 28 years of experience providing award-winning service in the locum tenens industry.

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