Locum Tenens: Is It Worth the Career Move?


Trying to tackle a career as a physician is going to be filled to the brim with challenges no matter the scenario. It’s not the kind of career choice to take lightly, especially when you consider the overall demand for healthcare professionals. Most people get into the field of medicine with an understanding that it isn’t going to be a walk in the park.

However, just because you expect plenty of stress doesn’t mean you have to stick with the status quo and resign yourself to a challenging career. There are some surprising career moves you can still make — one of them being locum tenens.

What is locum tenens?

Simply put, locum tenens is a career where a physician takes assignments of varying lengths in different medical facilities. Depending on the medical recruitment companies you choose, you have plenty of control over your career. However, the challenge that comes with locum tenens is that nothing is permanent. Physicians have to be prepared to make lifestyle changes if they intend to tackle such a career choice, as it involves traveling from place to place and making the most out of your opportunities wherever you are.

The benefits of locum tenens

While locum tenens does require you to travel from place to place depending on the details of your assignment, there are plenty of reasons why it is often considered one of the best choices for ambitious new physicians.

  1. Pay off student loans sooner. One of the primary advantages of locum tenens is you can choose more remote locations for your assignments, which means higher overall pay. As a result, those who might have racked up the student loans can pay them off much sooner than initially expected. It also means you can start building your savings as soon as possible.
  2. A lenient change of pace. Another reason why many physicians choose locum tenens is the typical career as a healthcare professional can be hectic and stressful. One of the advantages of choosing your assignment is you are only expected to handle your responsibilities as a locum tenens physician. No administrative work is necessary, giving most physicians a chance to focus on balancing out their lifestyles.
  3. A chance to help where you’re needed. While you will undoubtedly do good work no matter which path you choose, locum tenens is one of those situations where you can immediately make a difference. Medical facilities need locum tenens physicians for a reason, as you’re there to fill in a void. So you can expect to start making a difference as soon as possible, which can be a lot of pressure for new doctors, but is also extremely rewarding.

Should I go with locum tenens?

As far as whether locum tenens is worth the career move or not, depends on your willingness to make lifestyle changes to get the job done. If you don’t mind traveling around as part of a fulfilling career, you’ll undoubtedly make the most out of your opportunities through locum tenens.

While it might not necessarily be for everyone, it’s a career choice that can be lenient yet demanding at the same time. If you feel locum tenens is up your alley, feel free to give it a shot.