Locum Tenens ─ A Brief Guide

In times past, few healthcare providers would give locum tenens as much thought concerning their career path; most of the primary goals were growth and stability. But it’s a different story these days, as the new generation of medical professionals is more willing to work in locum, and it’s not hard to see why. After all, they offer many advantages over the more traditional livelihood in the industry.

However, as beneficial as locum tenens is, information on it is neither as common nor as widespread as it should be. And this article’s goal is to educate those in the healthcare sector about what it means to become a locum tenens practitioner so that they can make an informed decision on whether or not it’s the lifestyle for them. So if you want to learn more, keep on reading.

Locum tenens—what is it?

A Latin phrase directly translated as “holding in place,” locum tenens refers to doctors filling staffing gaps and positions within a healthcare facility for a specific and temporary period. Depending on the assignment, this can take days and weeks to months. In some cases, they can go even longer. And these days, they play a critical role in ensuring that the void of clinics and hospitals is filled, especially for those located in areas that may struggle to attract medical providers.

Obviously, locum tenens physicians and nurse practitioners can be beneficial to communities that require their expertise as they try to find healthcare professionals to hire for the long term. But taking on locum tenens assignments and filling up these temporary positions also have advantages of their own, which is why more and more medical practitioners are choosing to work with staffing firms like MASC Medical. Click here for more information.


Advantages of becoming a locum tenens practitioner

Choosing to become a locum tenens practitioner comes with many benefits. For starters, healthcare facilities and organizations are generally more willing to compensate doctors when they’re desperate to have positions filled. As a result, medical providers working in locums tend to enjoy better hourly rates than full-time employees. This is especially important because they’re taxed as independent contractors and can write off costs associated with traveling and the job itself.

Beyond getting paid more, there’s the additional benefit of lowering costs. Most assignments generally come with housing and travel expenses during the relocation. Furthermore, it isn’t uncommon to get stipends for food. With the higher compensation and cost reduction, you can save up for your retirement, a private practice, or pay off any existing student debts you might have.

Apart from significant financial gains, there are many other benefits to becoming a locum tenens doctor. One advantage is the opportunity it presents for traveling. Those who enjoy experiencing new locations and working environments while generating a substantial income will benefit greatly from the locum tenens lifestyle because assignments can take practitioners to many different cities.

Flexibility in scheduling is another advantage worth noting. One of the challenges that many healthcare providers face is achieving a good work-life balance. Through locum tenens, physicians have a greater degree of control over their workload. They also don’t have too many administrative tasks to worry about, so they can concentrate their efforts on the practice of medicine and keep themselves from getting burned out from the job.

Lastly, choosing to pursue a career in locum tenens will present you with the opportunity to test out various specific working environments. Unlike a more traditional approach, you’re not forced to settle for any hospital. Instead, you’re given the option to figure out first-hand where your personality and skills are better suited before you decide to take on a permanent role. In other words, you’ll have a better chance of picking one that you’ll enjoy more.


Considerations before choosing locum tenens

There’s no denying that locum tenens work boasts many advantages that traditional healthcare careers lack. However, the lifestyle isn’t for everyone. While getting to travel might be a benefit for some, it may be a drawback to others. If you don’t enjoy moving from one place to another, there’s a good chance that you’ll get burned out. Having to familiarize yourself with new guidelines and policies and meeting new colleagues can also be draining if you’re not used to it.

Locum tenens can also keep you away for long periods and may keep you away from friends and family. While taking loved ones with you is possible, it can be hard for those whose partners are already employed or have kids. Another thing to consider is the benefits that a full-time employee will have over independent contractors. Coverages like vision, dental, and health will be your responsibilities instead of the facility or organization you work with.

If you’re planning on making locum tenens your primary source of income, you could find yourself with unstable revenue. Therefore, you’ll need to have a solid emergency fund in place because you won’t have any idea of what your income will be like. However, if you’re using it as supplemental revenue, then this won’t be a problem.

Should you do it full-time or part-time?


There are two ways you can work in locums: full-time or part-time. Your decision will be based on specific factors, such as your preferences and goals. For example, if you’re looking to increase your income but aren’t willing to let go of your permanent position, it would be ideal to opt for the latter. On the other hand, if you want to experience as many places and working environments as possible, it’s worth considering working as a full-time locum tenens doctor.


No one can deny the importance of locum tenens on healthcare facilities and specialists. When you get down to it, they can address the staffing needs of clinics, hospitals, and other working environments effectively. Moreover, they offer enticing advantages to doctors and nurse practitioners, whether it’s to earn more, manage the working schedule, or get to travel. Best of all, you can benefit from it no matter where you are in your career.

About Nina Smith