When I first joined LocumTenens.com in 2008, I spent a lot of my time talking to potential clients, batting down stereotypes of physicians who worked in the locum tenens industry as independent contractors.
Things I heard often:
- Locum tenens physicians are expensive.
- They are not good doctors and can’t get jobs anywhere else.
- They don’t really care about what happens here because they aren’t a part of our “team.”
That reputation didn’t match most of the physicians I worked with at all. Sure, occasionally a physicianis not a good fit for an assignment. But this was — and still is — a rare occurrence. A good recruiter knows how to set expectations so that no one is surprised.
Over the past several years, it’s been a refreshing change to start conversations with potential clientsin a completely different way.
Things I hear now:
- We need a staffing strategy that includes locum tenens physicians to help us improve the retention rates of physicians who work here full-time.
- We need to refine our staffing mix to use advanced practice professionals at the top of their license.
The reason for this shift isn’t because of something we’ve done in our industry. It isn’t even because of more patients having access to health insurance, or the physician shortage everyone is always taking about. It’s the doctors themselves who have changed this conversation. I could cite study after study that shows today’s doctors want something different. For the most part, they don’t want the shingle out front with their name on it, or the constant rounding that goes along with it. But maybe, they also don’t want to be a physician that works a regular job at the local hospital. These physicians want more control over their careers, and the locum tenens industry gives them that.
Working as a locum tenens physician is now a viable career option for many physicians, no matter their age or level of experience. We are seeing more and younger physicians working locum tenens straight out of residency, in addition to physicians who consider themselves semi-retired but want to continue practicing. All are choosing it for the freedom it gives them to set their own schedules and work where they want to work, when they want to work. It works out amazingly for these physicians who want to call their own shots, and for the healthcare facilities, and patients, who depend on their talents. And as the president of a locum tenens staffing company, I couldn’t be happier that it’s the physicians we work with who are changing the face of our industry in such a positive way.