You can see the light at the end of the tunnel. You’re almost done with your program, but you still want to explore different types of medical practices. If so, there’s a great option for you: a locum tenens position. Clinics or hospitals will reach out to a locum PA when they have a temporary employment gap. While physician locum terms can be a year or more, the tenure of locum PAs is more often a few days to a few months.
Here I discuss the top incentives as well as answer some concerns that arise from this type of work.
With locum tenens, you can find the practice that suits you best and travel all over the country and the world. The best thing about traveling is that the recruiting company will usually cover all traveling expenses. That’s right. Your flight, car rentals and housing arrangements are taken care of; sometimes even a stipend for food may be provided.
Traveling to a new facility can create a few challenges, though. The biggest is adapting to the new environment. The new surroundings may be difficult to get used to, but why not embrace the change? Take time to explore your temporary placement. You may find that you really like it, and maybe you’ll decide to make a permanent move.
The other major reason professionals choose a locum tenens job is the amazing flexibility. Most physician assistants choose their own parameters, so they can decide how many and which days they want to work during their assignments.
Do you like the idea, but aren’t interested in spending too much time away from your home? There are options that accommodate those desires. Many agencies offer short-term engagements; you can travel to a new place for as little as a few days.
This flexibility is a major plus for anyone with children. Assignments can be planned to coincide with your kid’s vacation. In that case, it would be a great experience to take the whole family to a new place for a few weeks while still earning money.
Finally, a physician assistant completing their program may want to increase his or her network as much as possible before deciding on a permanent position. Working locum tenens gives you the ability to engage with hundreds of doctors, nurses and patients from all over the world. Creating these professional relationships may open doors that you had never considered.
Although there are many positives to meeting new people, it may pose some issues. Because you’ll be the “newbie” in the facility your new colleagues may not invest their time in you. Eniola Otuseso, MD, told LocumLife magazine, “Because you’re new […] you would have to create a positive impression within a short period of time.”
Aside from learning new systems and procedures, it’s important to show your new coworkers that you know what you’re doing but are willing to learn and adapt to the way things are done in that facility.
So if you’re completing your program and want to change things up a bit, you should consider dipping into locum tenens work. My advice: Keep your day job and attempt a short-term assignment. If you decide you hate it, you’ll have something to fall back on.
Some trustworthy locum tenens employment sites include:
See also: Is Locum Tenens for You?
Adam Ghosh has more than 20 years’ experience as a medical researcher. He has worked with allergists and vascular surgeons, and everyone in between. Now he supplements his early retirement by contributing to Weatherby Healthcare.