Pros and Cons: Locum Tenens vs. Permanent Position

Permanent vs. Locum Tenens The Pros & Cons

Pros and Cons: Locum Tenens vs. Permanent Position

If you’re fast-thinking, detail-oriented, and adventurous, you may want to seriously consider becoming a locum tenens physician. It’s a fact that locum tenens docs often earn more money than those who work in one hospital setting. But before you trade in your white coat to become a locum tenens doctor and perhaps travel the globe, let’s explore some of the pros and cons of locum tenens work versus working in a brick-and-mortar facility.

Hit the Road, Jack

Being a locum tenens physician puts you in the driver’s seat, whether it’s a local assignment or one that takes you across the country. You can control where you go, when you go (to some extent), how often, and how long you stay. And in between assignments you can determine how much of a break you want before you accept the next assignment. You can negotiate your pay and any other amenities like mileage reimbursement. Staffing agencies can provide a roadmap on your journey when it comes to competitive compensation, credentialing, and a myriad of other things.

If you are a homebody and look forward to a meal in your own home each night, you may not be a good fit for a traveling locum tenens physician. And that’s quite all right. If you choose the traditional path of working in a healthcare setting, you won’t have to worry about negotiations as much and you have assured health insurance as part of your package. Locum tenens doctors most likely have to purchase their own coverage.

Relieve Burned-Out Physicians

One of the great rewards of taking on assignments as a locum tenens doctor is that you can help your peers in the medical field avoid burnout. According to the AMA, nearly half of doctors suffer from this malady. This is bad for patients, of course, when doctors aren’t functioning at their full potential. By lending your skills as a traveling locum tenens doctor, you are giving doctors a much-needed respite for renewal in body and spirit.

While you may enjoy the ability to relieve these burned-out physicians, and not get too overworked yourself, working a short locums assignment can make it tough to get to know and build relationships with these physicians that you’re assisting.

Show Me the Money

In general, locum tenens physicians have the ability to make more money than a traditional doctor. The hourly rate is higher because the need is so great and often assignments are given on short notice. Usually the traveling doctor can charge mileage and write off expenses like scrubs. However, while the money may be more plentiful, the hours could involve weekends and holidays. Doctors who are established in a hospital often can choose their schedule due to their seniority.

Help Is Here

Clearly, when weighing the pros and cons of locum tenens, there is a lot of information to consider. Connect with your own personal recruiter and decide which career path is right for you and your family.