If you’re anything like me, when you first heard the phrase locum tenens you had no idea what it meant! What is Locum Tenens? Well, let’s go ahead and address the elephant in the room; locum tenens is a Latin word that translates into “holding a place”. However, in the healthcare world, locum tenens means to hold a temporary position such as a temporary nurse practitioner, a temporary physician or a temporary physician’s assistant.

Or, in the simplest terms: Locum tenens is simply a phrase given to the temporary physicians that healthcare facilities employ when they are managing staffing shortages. Read on to learn the facts about locum tenens and see if becoming a locum tenens is something you would want to do.


What Roles do Locum Tenens Fill?

Locum Tenens are physicians for hire; they’re the temporary physicians that hospitals use when they are understaffed and desperately need qualified professionals to get the job done. A locum tenens can generally work anywhere in the country (as long as they have the proper documentation and certification) and assignments can last for a few days up to a year! This can be appealing if you are a person that doesn’t like to be tied down and wants travel the country.


Why do Healthcare Facilities Employ Locum Tenens and not a Full Time Staff Member?

It’s no secret, hospitals and other healthcare facilities cannot afford to shut down if a doctor is out sick; they still have patients that need to be cared for! If you have ever worked in a hospital, you probably know that physicians sometimes are unavailable to come in.

Hospitals hire locum tenens because it is often more cost effective than paying to have a full time healthcare provider on staff for the entire year. Additionally, locum tenens allow hospitals to let their full time physicians take long vacations and grant them sabbaticals. If you will, locum tenens are the “substitute teachers” of the healthcare world.


Is Locum Tenens for You?

Working as a locum tenens could be a great opportunity, but only if you have the right mentality to excel in this unique role. I’m going to ask you a few questions and if you respond “Yes” then you should think about looking into becoming a locum tenens.


  • Do you want to experience a break from your daily routine?
  • Do you want to travel for work and are open to living in some pretty cool areas?
  • Would you be open to working part-time?
  • Are you a type of person that likes meeting new people?
  • Are you just starting off your career or thinking about winding down?


What’s in it for You?

Becoming a locum tenens is are great way to live a life of adventure, meet new people, help those that need your skills the most and get paid in the process. If you are a qualified physician, nurse, or certified in another area of health care, then your skills are in high demand. Consider becoming a locum tenens and make a difference in many communities.

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