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Emergency Medicine Locum Tenens: temporary jobs in the ER

By: K.D. Claymer

Date Added : July 23, 2011 Views : 1065
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In the physician recruitment industry, the concept of locum tenens (or temporary job assignment) is well-established. However, this wasn’t always the case. In fact, the locum tenens concept only dates back to the early 1970s when Therus Kolff, MD and Alan Kronhaus, MD of the non-profit Health Systems Research Institute in Utah developed a program which sought to help rural communities attract badly-needed doctors. The key was guaranteeing these city doctors time off so they could re-charge their batteries back home or just take a break before they returned to their country assignments.
Within a year, Kolff and Kronhaus had expanded the program to include other specialties, including emergency medicine, and were serving other areas of the nation.
Today more than 25 companies compete in the $2-billion locum tenens physician staffing industry, providing temporary physicians to fill short-and long-term absences for almost every medical specialty. Locum tenens physicians work as independent contractors for a locum tenens physician staffing agency which in turn is paid by the hospital or medical specialty group needing short-term help.
"Locum tenens" is a Latin phrase that means "to hold the place of”. What attraction, then, do emergency medicine locum tenens hold for emergency room doctors?
When 500 physicians were asked this same question in a formal survey, almost half (48%) said the chance to have a flexible schedule was a key driver in their decision-making. Other important reasons included the opportunity to see a different part of the country (38%), the chance to earn extra income (35%) and a desire to build upon their clinical experience (34%).
No doubt emergency physicians would agree with these reasons and add one of their own: the
excitement of a new working environment on a regular basis. As a group, emergency room doctors thrive on novelty and emergency medicine locum tenens assignments add this kind of variety to their professional life. When the assignment is over, these physicians can take another locum tenens position or, if they especially liked the area where they had been working, look for permanent work in that same hospital or city.
To be sure, there are other benefits to the locum tenens emergency physician lifestyle. For example, locum tenens ER physicians often receive higher pay because they work as independent contractors. They also enjoy the flexibility to build their own schedules and the independence that goes with that.
However, success as a locum tenens emergency physician requires certain personality traits such as patience, organizational skills and the ability to adapt quickly to new work environments.
Why do employers such as hospitals or medical specialty groups like the concept of locum tenens? Answer: Flexibility. Locum tenens help these employers fill shifts when a doctor leaves unexpectedly, take a vacation or goes on sabbatical. Locum tenens also allow employers to supplement their permanent staffing during peak times, then reduce staffing when patient volume drops.
Employers and ED physicians alike should look for these attributes when choosing a locum tenens physician staffing firm:
· Malpractice insurance coverage
· Payroll history/financial wherewithal
· Recruitment specialists who are accessible and available to answer questions
· Attention to details such as licensure, credentialing, hospital privileges, proper travel and housing arrangements
A good locum tenens physician staffing firm will have extensive nationwide contacts with both emergency medicine physicians and employers. These firms are skilled at matching the right physician with the right employer using a combination of experience and leading-edge technical tools. Oftentimes, they will have knowledge of locum tenens emergency medicine physician positions before they appear online, or will be the first to know when positions open up unexpectedly and need to be filled quickly.
In short, emergency medicine doctors should choose their physician staffing firm wisely rather than attempt to find a locum tenens position on their own.

Keith Klamer is the author of this article on emergency physician jobs. Find more information, about emergency medicine jobs here

Article Source: Emergency Medicine Locum Tenens: temporary jobs in the ER

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