It wasn't that long ago that locum tenens providers were not always looked upon favorably by our nation's hospitals. Fortunately, that has changed and the locum tenens industry is continuously growing. According to Becker's Hospital Review, 90% of America's hospitals and healthcare facilities used locum tenens to one degree or another in 2013. That was up from 73.6% the year before.
Becker's provided the locum tenens statistics as part of a list of 50 things to know about the healthcare industry for 2014. Overall, the list shows an evolving healthcare delivery landscape that is remarkably different from previous years, and one that will continue to expand in the years to come. The locum tenens community will be a huge factor of those future statistics.
Reasons for Using Locums
Hospitals might have looked down on locum tenens providers due to misconceptions regarding their skills and work ethic. In other words, it was just assumed that locum tenens were relegated to their field of work because that was their only option. However, more and more hospitals have had to lean on locum tenens professionals to cover gaps in coverage, and that shift over the last few years has changed that mindset.
So why are hospitals and other healthcare facilities utilizing locum tenens professionals? Here are the top four reasons according to Becker's:
- Open Positions – Locum tenens providers are frequently used to temporarily fill positions left by retiring physicians or those advancing to new jobs. Nearly 55% of America's hospitals use locum tenens in this way.
- Temporary Leaves – When doctors take vacation or need extended leave for educational purposes, hospitals can either fill the position with locum tenens or ask remaining doctors to share the extra load. Becker's says that just over 46% choose the locums route.
- Peak Service – Every industry has its peak times and healthcare is no different. Locum tenens providers are now being utilized by 11% of hospitals to handle those peak demands because they offer administrators a cost-effective solution to a temporary problem.
- Staff Flexibility – There are times when administrators want the flexibility to increase or decrease staff size. In such cases, utilizing locums provides that flexibility. Nearly 10% of hospitals and healthcare facilities use locums in this way.
There may be other reasons for using locum tenens professionals not mentioned by Becker's but the ones listed above are the most well-known. Not only are locum tenens providers beneficial for healthcare facilities, they are also creating a world of opportunity for themselves, generating the work-life flexibility that isn’t always easy to find.
Temporary or As a Career
Healthcare providers looking for work can now choose the locum tenens option either as a temporary solution to unemployment or as a permanent career choice. Some will use locum tenens work as a stepping-stone to a permanent staff position. At any rate, there is no shortage of jobs. One need only visit an online job board such as VISTA Staffing to see just how much locum tenens professionals are in demand.
Healthcare providers who choose locum tenens work as a career often do so because they enjoy the flexibility, control, and opportunities to travel. Nevertheless, locum tenens work is not for everyone. It takes a unique person who is willing to constantly change work environments while still maintaining the highest levels of professionalism.
In conclusion, the healthcare industry is extremely fortunate to have so many dedicated locum tenens. Without them, the nation's hospitals and other healthcare facilities would not be able to perform as effectively.
- Becker's Hospital Review – http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-physician-relationships/ho...
- Becker's Hospital Review – http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/lists/50-things-to-know-about-the-h...