A complete library of blog posts discussing the reasons doctors switch to locum medicine have been written over the last few years. Most of them discuss the same reasons, including the opportunity to travel, using locum work to transition to retirement, earning extra money, and ‘test driving’ different work environments to figure out which one is most preferable.
All those reasons are both valid and true. Still, some doctors making the switch from traditional practice to locum work do so for entirely different reasons. Their reasons are not discussed as much because they aren’t as prevalent. But a lack of prevalence does not equate to a lack of validity.
Below is a list of lesser-known reasons doctors are transitioning from traditional practice to locum work. If you are a doctor considering the move yourself, you may find some of these reasons apply to your thinking.
Locum Tenens to Combat Burnout
There is no denying that burnout is a real problem for America’s doctors. Primary care and family medicine providers are among the most affected by the burnout epidemic. So if there were a way to continue practicing medicine without the conditions that cause burnout, would it not make sense for doctors to pursue such an opportunity? It does exist, and doctors are pursuing it. That way is locum tenens.
Locum medicine is all about the practice thereof. Locums don’t have to worry about keeping insurance companies happy, running a medical business, or watching out for the hospital’s bottom line. They are free to see and treat patients with very few external distractions.
Opportunities to Help Young Doctors
There is a growing number of older doctors who believe they have a responsibility to mentor younger doctors just getting started. One way they do that is by transitioning to locum work. Then they take assignments where they know they are likely to work alongside young doctors.
Because locums do not have the distractions of traditional practice to worry about, they are free to act as mentors to their younger peers. A good doctor who acts as a caring mentor can accomplish a lot during a 3-to-6-month assignment. And even after assignments are over, mentors can stay in touch with their protégés to keep their relationships going.
Opportunities to Pursue Other Things
More than one doctor has left traditional practice in favor of locum work in order to pursue other things. For example, you might have a doctor with a lifelong passion for medical journalism. Working as a locum affords the freedom to structure work in such a way as to allow time for journalistic pursuits.
There may be another doctor with a decades-old desire to be involved in philanthropic work; work that has always been left on the back burner due to the time constraints of traditional practice. Becoming a locum tenens provider frees up the time that doctor needs to pursue his or her philanthropy.
Still another doctor might be searching for opportunities to serve overseas in medical missions. That kind of work is hard to do when you are running a private practice or working as a hospitalist. As a locum though, it is a lot easier. Doctors can take locum assignments overseas. Between assignments, they can volunteer their time in medical missions.
It turns out that there aren’t just three or four reasons doctors choose to leave traditional practice behind to move into locum tenens work. There are as many different reasons as there are locum doctors. That is a good thing because it will help to keep locum tenens alive well into the future.