Pros and Cons of Being a Traveling Physician

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Pros and Cons of Being a Traveling Physician

With the shortage of doctors continuing, the hiring process for hospitals, clinics and practices is taking longer than ever – yet patients still need uninterrupted care.

That’s why most healthcare facilities are filling the gaps with traveling (locum tenens) physicians. In fact, nearly 90% of healthcare facilities are using traveling physicians, according to a 2022 survey.

Talking with an established healthcare recruiter can help to decide if being a traveling physician is right for you.

Here are some pros and cons to consider:



Better Pay

Of all the benefits of working as a traveling physician, the most enticing one is the potential for a bigger salary.

It’s been documented that traveling physicians that work full-time earn an average of $32.45 per hour more than physicians working in permanent positions. Pay rates will vary depending upon how many years of experience you have and the demand for physicians in your specialty.

Flexible Schedule

As a traveler, you can choose which assignments to take, in what location, and for how long. It’s an ideal option for those with commitments outside of practicing medicine — like caring for a loved one, serving medical missions, or just looking for a better work-life balance.

Less Administration, More Patient Time

One of the most rewarding aspects is practicing “pure medicine.” Without having to worry about paperwork or other administrative duties, locums’ physicians can spend more time with patients. Successful locums are often asked by facilities to return for repeat assignments – as a result, some physicians work with the same patients for years.

No Need to Worry About Overhead

Unlike physicians who run their own practice, travel docs don’t have to worry about overhead or putting money back into the business. Locum tenens is also attractive to young physicians who haven’t established a patient base.


If You Travel, You Will Probably Go It Alone

For many traveling physicians, being on the road means doing it alone, which can be rough on a relationship. However, one of the misconceptions about being a traveler is the need to leave family behind. Most opportunities include housing options that enable doctors to bring others along. So traveling with a significant other is not out of the question.

Finding Your Own Benefits

As a traveling doctor you’re responsible for your own health insurance coverage. That means you’ll need to find health as well as dental, disability and life insurance. Finding insurance is not hard – it just takes some time. Working through the American Medical Association, or a local broker will make the process much easier.

You’re Not Calling the Shots

As a traveling physician, you’re a temporary contract worker and only wedded to a healthcare facility for the length of your contract. As you move around, you’ll need to adapt to each organization’s existing systems and infrastructure. This can be a challenge for physicians used to working under their own methods and opinions. Understanding this reality going in will make the transition a lot smoother.

Interested In Becoming a Travel Physician? Contact Annashae Today

At Annashae we’re dedicated to the placement of highly skilled physicians in short and long-term travel positions. As a nationwide medical staffing and consulting firm, we provide a range of services that enable our candidates to quickly find the career opportunity that fits their needs. For information on how you can further your clinical career, contact us today.