From an HR perspective, the medical industry is one of the most challenging professions to be in, especially when it comes to hiring, staffing, recruiting, scheduling, finding substitutes, filling missed shifts, dealing with sick leave, and coping with personal/family leave.

And why is this? It is because finding a perfect replacement for a professional medical doctor who knows his profession and his patients is very difficult. Such individuals are quite valuable in their given field and temporarily replacing them at the drop of a hat can be quite difficult.

With the stresses and difficulties of finding and using temporary medical professionals, there has risen the myth that locum tenens staff means lesser quality physicians. It does not. What is true is that poorly selected, scheduled, and oriented locum tenens staff will be unfortunately set up to perform with less success and stability than permanent, full-time medical staff members. This is just the nature of the beast and would be true of any field. 

If a substitute teacher went to sub for some classes at a school with little to no orientation, was improperly vetted, received classes that were not ideal for his or her skill set, and was scheduled without fully addressing all of these points, he or she would not do all that well either.

We can see pretty clearly that the problem is not with the locum tenens staff.  For an example, take the locum tenens doctor who comes to work at a hospital for a few days and fumbles through it. They are having a hard time orienting to the space, field, and working with the patients. Let’s consider now if this doctor had been properly oriented to the exact, proper field, was given a good amount of time to prepare for his locum tenens work, and was properly briefed before beginning his first shift. In addition, what if he was given a few shifts to shadow the doctor he would be temporarily replacing, to get a full understanding of the position. If all of the groundwork was done, then the above problems simply would not occur.

Saying that all locum tenens medical professionals do sub-par work is like saying that all substitute teachers are subpar teachers, or that all fill-in staffers for any company are not as good as the full-timers. This myth is simply not true and there is no evidence or hard facts to support it. It is just that, a myth.

How to Ensure that Locum Tenens Works

The way to ensure that locum tenens works out properly is to hire a professional staffing agency that works directly with locum tenens providers. In this way, the right locum tenens individual can be found, vetted based off of the medical practice’s needs for that particular instance, and provided to the medical practice for temporary work. A staffing agency is able to bust the above myths and really make locum tenens work by operating closely with both client and locum tenens practitioner to ensure that excellent results occur. Such agencies ensure that the right candidates are vetted for their clients’ needs, those candidates are oriented, briefed, have time to shadow, and take care of all the necessary paperwork before their first shift.

The number one reason why locum tenens staff do not work out is more as a result of difficulties faced with properly lining up, briefing, indoctrinating, orienting, introducing, and preparing locum tenens staff, not because they are subpar by nature. As mentioned above, working in the field of locum tenens is tricky and challenging. It is not a simple task to find a temporary practitioner who can perform at the level of efficiency of a doctor who has years to perfect his niche in a medical practice. With the help of a staffing agency, locum tenens individuals and staffing personnel can work together to accomplish this goal. Contact us at Medstaff to help with your medical staffing needs.