The Latin phrase locum tenens literally means “place-holding” and is used to refer to a healthcare provider in a temporary medical staffing position. In the early days of locums, providers of the service tended to be physicians in the twilight of their medical career who wanted to stay active in the practice of medicine, but in a more flexible and less time-consuming manner than demanded by a full-time practice.
Today, many physicians enjoy the flexibility of locum tenens as a work option at nearly every stage of their career. They enjoy a variety of opportunities to choose what they want to do, to work as little or as much as they like, to travel, to focus on a single specialty or multiple specialties, to improve their quality of life – and their career goes with them. Others choose locum tenens as a result of increased bureaucracy in the healthcare field and rapidly rising malpractice insurance premiums.