03 Jan Are Locum Physicians Working a Gig Model?
The term “gig economy” has been floating around for a few years – mostly since the COVID pandemic forced employers and employees to think outside of the box.
But what exactly IS a gig economy?
Simply put, the gig economy is a labor market that relies heavily on temporary and part-time positions. These positions are filled by independent contractors and freelancers rather than full-time permanent employees
This business model can benefit businesses by making work more adaptable to short term needs – while offering employees more control over their personal lifestyles.
Locums and the Gig Economy
Over the past few years a growing group of U.S. physicians has been taking a gig approach, i.e. locum tenens – and ditching full-time employment with a health system or practice.
In a June 2023 report, The Wall Street Journal cited data that found about 7% of the nation’s physician workforce were practicing through locum assignments. This represents a 90% increase since 2015. The reason most often cited? Physicians dealing with burnout but not wanting to completely stop practicing.
While the reasons vary per individual, physicians who have switched to gig work often cite more professional fulfillment and increased flexibility as reasons for leaving the traditional path. For example, they may work a week at a local hospital, a few days of telemedicine appointments from home, or travel to an out-of-state medical facility and work a two-month stint.
The Many Benefits of Gig Work
Today’s physicians have found a variety of benefits to choosing locums gig work, including:
1. Added Income
For many, the primary motivator for seeking gig work is the financial benefit of supplemental income. Doctors are increasingly turning to side gigs to alleviate financial burdens (paying off student loans) and securing their financial future (saving for retirement). For a lot of docs currently working locum tenens, the opportunity to supplement core income was the deciding factor – followed by the ability to earn while looking for a permanent job.
2. Career Boost
Another reason physicians pursue gig work is to enhance their professional skills. When physicians take on locum tenens assignments, they’re exposed to a broader range of cases and challenges, work with a wider variety of medical colleagues, and experience an array of locations and medical facilities. This improves their clinical skills and exposes them to the latest medical advancements.
3. Overcoming Physician Burnout
Gig work can often play a role in reducing physician burnout by providing added flexibility, autonomy, and in general, a fresh perspective that can reduce stress and long hours. Engaging in locum tenens gig work allows physicians to regain control over their schedules – and their lives. Locum tenens offers the ability to choose when and where to work, enabling them to strike a healthier balance between professional responsibilities and personal life.
4. Better Work/Life Balance
Maintaining a healthy work/life balance is essential when dealing with physician shortages and long hours in demanding environments. Locum gigs offer added flexibility – enabling physicians to balance their professional commitments with their personal lives – and can contribute significantly to overall well-being and job satisfaction.
Contact Annashae Today
At Annashae we’re dedicated to the placement of highly-skilled clinical practitioners in short and long-term 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.