When considering taking a locum tenens assignment, there are a few details you must know before making a final decision. The location is only one factor, and speaking to your locum tenens recruiter to gain insight into the other details can help ensure you are properly prepared. Here are the six most important details to review with your recruiter about a potential locum tenens assignment:
Scope of Practice
The scope of practice is crucial, as you need to be familiar with the procedures, actions, and processes of the facility in question. Other factors that may impact the scope of practice include the facility’s policy, patient needs, and state law. When partnering with VISTA, our recruiters can help ensure you have a clear understanding of the role, what is needed, and the qualifications for the position. They are also involved in matching you with facilities to make sure it’s a good fit.
What type of electronic health record (EHR) system does the facility use? It’s important to know what system they use and the administrative duties required in the role. Will there be on-site training, or will you be expected to learn the system on your own? This may be a major factor in your decision, as EHR systems are often complex.
Travel and Housing Arrangements
How will you travel to your assignment? Is the facility in proximity to hotels or rental property? Where will you live during your assignment? Who is responsible for making these arrangements? In most cases, your recruiting agency will cover your travel and housing expenses. At VISTA, we leverage our full-service, in-house travel department to coordinate with providers to plan cost-effective and convenient travel options.
Licensing and Credentials
What type of licensure and credentialing is needed for the position? Will you need a new state license? Some positions, like our government positions, will accept any state license. Many states, like Maine, offer a temporary license that can be issued in a matter of weeks. Some states are also part of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC), making it easier than ever to work in multiple states. Work with your recruiter to understand licensing and credentialing requirements, and in some cases, he or she can help expedite the process.
As an independent contractor, you will most likely be paid hourly, and your pay rate will be based on the type of work you’re hired to perform. Before accepting an assignment, be sure to understand the compensation - as well as bonuses, overtime, and shift differentials - to guide your decision. Partnering with a recruiting agency like VISTA can help alleviate any payment discrepancies and ensure a smooth compensation process.
Locum tenens assignments usually don’t last forever, and it is important to understand what happens during an assignment and once it has ended. Your recruiter should keep the line of communication open for you to ask questions or voice any concerns during the assignment.
At VISTA, we also conduct post-assignment evaluations to gather information and feedback that will help us find future assignments on your behalf. This will also help to create a smooth transition from one assignment to the next.
Considering these factors will help you make an informed decision when reviewing a potential assignment. For clinicians considering their first locum tenens assignment, read our Guide to Locum Tenens for even more insight into this exciting career option.
Editor's note: This post was originally published on January 28, 2019, and has been updated for accuracy and timeliness.