4 Myths About Locums Work that May Be Limiting Your Potential

Mar 8

At some point, every hospital finds itself in need of locum (or locum tenens) providers—those physicians who fill a short, temporary contract. But to many providers, taking one of these positions can carry a stigma. And it comes with it two primary fears:

  1. You’ll never be able to get a permanent position if you want one.
  2. You risk not having another option when your contract’s up.

You may be limiting your career and the lifestyle you want by writing off locums work.

Myth #1 Too Much Risk

You’re not just a provider for your patients, many of you are providers for your families. On the surface it may seem that taking on a temporary contract makes your annual income unpredictable. But the reality is, many hospitals regularly extend assignments once the initial contract is complete. This provides you an inside track to renewal at your facility or the opportunity to move to another facility needing your skills.

Consider this: What if you accept a permanent position at a hospital with a three- to five-year contract, and three months in, you discover it’s not a fit for you? With a locum position, in many ways you’re mitigating the risk of getting locked in before you’re ready. Why not “try it before you buy it?”

Myth #2 Career Suicide

So, what if you find a hospital you like through a locum position, and you’d rather become a permanent provider than keep renewing a short-term contract? There’s this idea out there that once you go locums you can’t go back. Your staffing agency owns you because it would be far too expensive for a hospital to buy you out as a permanent provider. Maybe you’ve been burned this way before, losing your sign-on bonus to cover the cost of a permanent placement fee.

This is a valid fear because, yes, there are predatory locums staffing agencies out there. That’s why it’s important before signing on with an agency to get a good understanding of the placement fee to convert to a perm role. Relode regularly helps locum providers move to perm roles without the drama.

Myth #3 Missing out on Income

When you’re working with a staffing agency that takes a lot off the top, hospitals are paying much more for your position than their permanent physicians. You, as the provider, aren’t always seeing that money. Again, this is where the staffing agency you choose makes a big difference.

Compensation is set by the employer and market conditions. You can maximize your earnings by working with a lower cost agency, which gives you more take-home income in the process.

Myth #4 Too Limiting

Some fear taking on locum work will make them feel stuck jumping from contract to contract. But the opposite is true. As a locum provider, you have greater freedom and flexibility that you might not otherwise have.

Only want to work three days a week? Have family you’d like to be near for a certain part of the year, maybe a student in college you’d like to visit and way to pay those expenses? Or maybe you’re retired but not quite ready to hang up your hat and want to only work a few months at a time. Have you ever desired to work in the Sunbelt during harsh winters in other regions?

Think locum work might be right for you? Learn more about joining our marketplace here.

Relode Team