What Is Locum Tenens

The term “locum tenens” means “to hold the place, to substitute for” in Latin.

In other words, locum physicians, locum PAs, locum NPs, amongst other types of locum providers fill in (or substitute) for other clinicians on a short or long-term basis.

Today, job opportunities for locums are endless. Locum providers come from nearly every specialty and subspecialty – allowing them to hold positions at hospitals, clinics, private practices, outpatient medical centers, government and military facilities, group practices, community health centers, correctional facilities, plus other nationwide organizations.

Who Works Locum Tenens Jobs

Whether you’re coming out of residency, pursuing a fellowship, transitioning, exploring new opportunities, or are a seasoned healthcare provider – anyone can benefit from accepting a locum tenens contract. Here are a few locum tenens job opportunities to explore:

Seasoned provider at locum job
  • Physician & Surgeon (i.e., Critical Care, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Oncology,
    Cardiovascular, Neurology, Internal Medicine, Anesthesiology, Pulmonology,
    Pathology, Psychiatry, etc.)
  • Physician Assistant (PA)
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anethesist (CRNA)
  • Dentist

The Rise of Locum Tenens

Did you know the U.S. was the first country to use locum tenens in the 1970’s?

Since then the rise of locum tenens has increased steadily from 26K physicians in 2002 to 48K in 2016, according to the Harvard Business Review. Factors such as a high demand for clinical services, physician shortages and mergers and acquisitions (M&As) have played a role in the increased demand.

So, who are locum tenens? According to a 2017 survey amongst 900 locum tenens, the survey identified the following insights into who they are:

Locum Tenens Surge OR Locum Tenens Growth
  • Three-quarters of physicians were identified as 51 years old or older
  • 9/10 physicians had worked in permanent practice at some point during their careers
  • 8% of physicians indicated they’ve only worked as locum tenens
  • 65% of physicians have been practicing for approximately 21 years
  • Approximately half of the physicians surveyed indicated they started working as locum tenens during the middle of their careers
  • 36% of physicians took on locum tenens assignments after retiring from permanent practice
  • The most common factors that influence which locum tenens assignments to take include location (89%), pay rate (67%), length of assignment (60%) and patient load (38%)

Why Explore Locum Tenens

Locum Tenens Recruiters Help Overcome Medical Staffing Challenges

With the ongoing physician shortage, healthcare organizations are now partnering with physician recruiting firms to explore locum tenens as an option to overcome medical staffing challenges. Hiring a locum physician or other type of locum clinician can benefit your organization as they can help fill immediate vacant positions, assist during unexpected or “high peak” seasons (i.e., COVID-19), improve patient care – all while working under short or long-term contracts.

Locum clinician at healthcare facility

Other ways locum tenens is helping the healthcare industry tackle some of today’s biggest challenges include:

  • Addressing the growing physician shortage
  • Filling staffing gaps
  • Alleviating stress and burnout from current staff
  • Strengthening underserved areas and facilities
  • Providing support during pandemic, natural disasters, or other type of crisis
  • Improving and providing quality patient care
  • Preventing productivity and revenue loss (instead yielding revenue/ROI)
  • Helping launch or expand new programs and more!

Why Work Locum Tenens Jobs as A Healthcare Provider

Becoming a locum tenens provider is a great opportunity/career choice.
So, what are the benefits of going locum? First, you gain control over your career and more flexibility in your personal life.
As a locum tenens physician, locum tenens physician assistant, locum tenens nurse practitioner or other type of locum provider you’ll also benefit from:

  • Good pay
  • A flexible schedule
  • Short or long-term physician jobs
  • Travel opportunities (U.S. or international)
  • Clinical experience (various healthcare organizations and new practice settings)
  • Experiencing a new career risk-free
  • Managing burnout
  • Pre-retirement planning
  • Eliminating medical school loans
  • Rediscovering your love for medicine and more!
Locum Tenens Benefits

The Locum Tenens Staffing Process

Getting started as a locum tenens provider is simple with MASC Medical.

As a candidate, when you first reach out to MASC Medical, you will be assigned a locum tenens recruiter who will then set up an introductory call to learn more about you – your specialty, assignment preferences, clinical experience, lifestyle goals and more. They will also answer any questions you have.

Locum tenens staffing process

After gathering this information, you will be required to send over your CV. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, at MASC we ensure to help all our candidates update and enhance their CV’s.

The search to find locum tenens job opportunities will begin afterwards. Assignments that match your criteria and what you’re looking for will then be presented to you for review and consideration. If there’s a locum job that’s right for you, it is your responsibility to let your recruiter know so that they can immediately start the process of presenting you as a candidate.

At MASC Medical we also take care of credentialing, licensing (when necessary), expediting privileges, arranging travel and accommodations, and covering your malpractice insurance while on assignment.

Locum Tenens with MASC Medical

As a leading locum tenens company, MASC Medical has the experience, resources, and scale needed to efficiently match talented healthcare providers with jobs that best fit their needs in a wide variety of practice settings.

Whether you’re a healthcare organization looking to explore locum tenens staffing or a healthcare provider looking for locum tenens jobs, MASC Medical is here to help.

6 Reasons to Partner with a
Top Locum Tenens Company

Locum Tenens FAQs

Locum Tenens FAQs

Interested in locum tenens but have questions?

Check out our FAQs to help you better understand if locum tenens staffing and/or locum tenens work is right for you.

What is locum tenens?

The term “locum tenens” means “to hold the place, to substitute for” in Latin. In other words, locum physicians fill in (or substitute) for other physicians on a short or long-term basis.

How long are locum tenens assignments?

Locum tenens have the flexibility to choose the length of their assignments. Assignments can range from one shift, to several months to years – depending on the needs of the healthcare organization.

What are the top 5 medical specialties for locum tenens?

The top 5 medical specialties for locum tenens are Primary Care, Gastroenterology, Dermatology, Psychiatry, and Neurology.

Are locum physicians considered 1099 employees?

Yes, locum physicians are 1099 independent contractors.

How do locum physicians get paid?

Locum tenens get paid by the agency who facilitated their assignment. In this case, if MASC Medical helps you find a locum assignment, they pay you, not the healthcare organization. Typically, locum physicians have a higher per hourly rate when compared to regular full-time physicians.

Can I book locum tenens assignments as a medical resident and/or while completing a fellowship?

It depends. If you are a medical resident, most healthcare organizations book locum physicians that are within their last 6 months of residency. Medical specialty also plays a role in that decision. Physicians completing their fellowship might be eligible for locum work if they have been doing clinical work within a particular medical specialty. This can change so make sure to discuss with your locum tenens agency for more information.

How does travel and housing work for locum tenens on assignment?

If you decide to accept a locum tenens assignment, the agency who helped facilitated this job for you will also cover the cost of travel and housing while you’re on assignment.

Is there a limit as to how many locum tenens a healthcare organization can hire?

No, there is no limit. Healthcare organizations can hire as many locum tenens needed.

What is the process to hire a locum tenens provider?

Healthcare organizations looking to hire locum tenens should work closely with a locum tenens company such as MASC Medical. The process to hire a locum tenens provider is simple – first, MASC Medical will meet with the healthcare organization to identify their need and discuss terms. We will then commence the search, conduct interviews, identify the best locum tenens candidates, and begin the credentialing process. For more on our locum tenens process, contact us.