How Physicians Balance Full Time and Locum Jobs

May 21

Have you ever considered working locum tenens?

Many physicians who are already working full-time have ruled out taking on a locum tenens assignment, either because adding an additional job on top of their full time responsibilities seems like a lot of hours, or because they don’t want to damage their standing at their current permanent facility or practice. However, more and more doctors are choosing to work in locum tenens (about 48,000 in 2017, according to a survey by Staff Care).

However, picking up extra assignments as a locum tenens physician can have several benefits, both personally and professionally. Here’s how physicians can balance working full time with locum tenens, and some of the benefits of making the choice to work locums.


Work Around Your Existing Schedule

One of the most popular reasons for working locum jobs is the flexibility. When you’re working a part-time locum job, you’re not tied to a 20-hour a week schedule, or even a 10-hour week. Instead, you can choose to add a few hours each week, an extra day a few times a month, whatever you prefer. Even if you work two 10-hour shifts a couple times a month, you’re still getting 20 extra hours of pay.

Flexible locations

As more facilities choose to staff locum tenens physicians, you may find a number of opportunities that require very little travel — in some cases, physicians have found that they are able to accept locum assignments very close to where they live, so picking up extra shifts is both easy and convenient. Other physicians choose to work in neighboring towns or even states since travel is covered for the assignment.

Add more to your income

If you’re a new physician, working locum tenens can be a great way either supplement your income, or pay off any loans that you have from medical school. Often, locum tenens positions pay more than permanent opportunities, so it can be a way to really make a difference on any kind of debt you might have from school.

Gain skills by serving another population

When you work locum tenens, you may find yourself working in an area that is fairly different from your normal day job. For example, many locum providers end up working in rural areas, or perhaps in busy clinics with lots of walk-in patients. This allows physicians to sharpen their existing skills, and also provides the chance to try out skills they may not use on a daily basis.

For physicians looking to expand their knowledge, locum offers an interesting and compensated way to explore new areas of medicine, as well as the chance to make a difference in the lives of even more patients.

Make your next career move

If you’ve been wanting to explore other career options, trying out a new facility by taking a locum assignment is the perfect way to “test the waters.” A lot of facilities who hire locum tenens physicians find that they are looking for a permanent physician, so if you like an opportunity, there’s a good chance you could be hired full time.

Locum is also a solution for doctors who are considering leaving the workforce, but who don’t want to retire completely. Instead, some of these physicians choose to work short-term assignments so that they can continue practicing without the burden of being tied to full time hours.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, you’ll have to consider your needs, and your working style before you decide if you want to take the step into locum tenens work. Most of the time, the company you choose to work with (including Relode) will cover travel, malpractice, housing, and credentialing for the role.

If you’re interested in more benefits of working locums, read this piece by Greg Kurmadas, the president of our locum division.

Browse and apply for locum and full time positions here:


Molly Powers