As an emergency medicine practitioner in search of a new job, you have access to hospitals all over the country desperately in need of your services. You have made contact with recruiters, updated your CV, and prepared yourself for what you expect to be a grueling process of phone calls, e-mails, and interviews. But stop for just one minute. Have you thought about locum tenens work?
Regular employment is a good option for a lot of doctors who enjoy long and productive careers working for others. But just because your specialty is emergency medicine doesn’t mean you’re limited to the traditional employment model. You can still pursue attractive emergency medicine opportunities and be self-employed.
Locum tenens doctors are self-employed doctors who work on a contract basis. They are not employed by hospitals or their staffing agencies. Locum work essentially gives them the best of both worlds: the stability of ongoing contracts and the flexibility of self-employment.
If you have never considered going the locum route, here are some compelling reasons you should at least think about it:
1. You Control Your Own Destiny
Locum tenens emergency medicine allows the doctor to control his or her own destiny. Doctors choose when they work, where they work, and for whom they will work. They are not under the constraints of traditional employment or the office politics that often get in the way of career progress.
2. You’re Already Wired for Locum Tenens
Assuming you have already spent time working as an employed ED physician, you are familiar with the ever-changing environment of emergency medicine. It is not a problem for you because you are wired for it. Well, guess what? You’re also wired for locum tenens work. If you can adapt to minute-by-minute changes in a busy emergency room, you can adapt to anything the locum lifestyle could throw at you.
3. You Don’t Let the Pressure Get to You
A good emergency medicine physician is one who is not easily rattled. He or she is a doctor who doesn’t let the pressure of the ED interfere with proper patient care. Does this sound like you? If so, you’re likely to be able to handle the inconveniences and minimal stresses that come with locum work. If you can handle a busy ED on a night with a full moon, you can certainly handle the planning, scheduling, and everything else that comes with the locum lifestyle.
4. Patients Don’t Expect Long-Term Relationships
The nature of emergency medicine is such that patients visiting the ED don’t expect long-term relationships with the doctors who treat them. As such, emergency medicine jobs can be filled by locums without any worries of inadequate care due to doctors not knowing their patients. Even employed doctors don’t know their patients as intimately as family physicians. It’s not a problem.
5. Locum Tenens Is a Learning Experience
Finally, one of the hallmarks of emergency medicine is that doctors never stop learning. There is always a new case or a completely unique diagnosis to spice up the week. Well, the learning that comes with emergency medicine is even more profound in the locum tenens setting. Locum work is, by its nature, a learning experience.
If there is one field of medicine that seems custom-made for locum tenens, it is emergency medicine. Many of the same characteristics that go into excelling as an employed ED physician also apply to the locum lifestyle. In short, you already have what it takes to be a locum if you have demonstrated success as an employed ED practitioner. So maybe you can give locum tenens some serious consideration.