Locum Tenens Jobs Open Doors for Physicians Entering Workforce

May 31st, 2012 7 Min read Locum Tenens Jobs Open Doors for Physicians Entering Workforce Blog

Dr. Bassam Rimawi was a child prodigy in the medical field, entering college at age 15. A decade later, he has now completed medical school and residency, and is a practicing OB-GYN.

While he comes from a family of N.Y.C.-based doctors and has practiced under prestigious obstetrics chiefs nationwide, Dr. Rimawi is not taking the "traditional" career path. Instead of opening a private practice or committing to a single hospital, Dr. Rimawi is working with CompHealth as a locum tenens—a physician who covers the duties of an absent doctor or supplements during peak seasons. He is now urging his colleagues to do the same.

Life after residency: Where to begin?

As medical residents and fellows complete their education in June, transitioning from training to practice can be intimidating. "Coming out of residency and opening up your own office is the hardest thing that any doctor can do because it's the one thing they don't really teach you," explains Dr. Rimawi. "When you go into practice you're on your own, including liability; you're not a student anymore."

Dr. Rimawi's advice to new physicians is to test the waters first. Starting a career by taking locum tenens physician jobs presents some valuable benefits:

  • Buy time between residency and fellowship while building up your CV. By working in different practice settings with a variety of physicians, you are demonstrating the ability to adapt quickly and share knowledge and skills.
  • Get an insider's view of practice management and economics so that you are more knowledgeable when it comes time to opening your own practice.
  • Explore multiple areas of the country and experience varied working environments before you accept a more permanent position. Choose from opportunities in private practices, rural clinics, rehabilitation centers and large hospital systems.
  • Set your own hours and earn overhead-free income comparable to a staff physician so that you can begin to pay off your education loans immediately.
  • Take advantage of comprehensive malpractice insurance coverage that covers you even after your assignment ends.
How credible is Locum Tenens?

A 2012 physician survey of 1,000 U.S. doctors conducted by a third-party research firm on behalf of CompHealth, the founder and leader in locum tenens companies, found most are familiar with the practice because they have either personally worked with one or they know someone who has.

  • More than two in five (43%) have direct experience working with a locum tenens physician
  • Most (92%) have a positive impression of the practice
  • Nearly all (95%) who have worked with a locum tenens physician are satisfied with the services they received

The CompHealth survey also found that approximately one in five respondents (22%) have worked locum tenens physician jobs themselves, and the majority (97%) had a positive experience. Physicians who chose to work locum tenens did so because of these benefits:

  • Compensation (55%)
  • Assist during a personal life transition (44%)
  • Expand their experience with a variety of new cases (26%)

"Locum tenens is a well-established and esteemed practice option for physicians that offers the chance to gain experience and a competitive edge," said Melissa Byington, President of CompHealth locum tenens. "As a graduating resident or fellow, it's a great opportunity to identify exactly where you want to be."

Dr. Rimawi set his sights on a highly competitive and coveted OB-GYN fellowship in South Carolina—and he used his experience as a locum tenens to win it. "Even though I was doing a research job they wanted to see actual work," he said. "When I explained that I was also working as a locum tenens, and that this enabled me to gain a variety of experiences, including both hands-on work on the ward, as well as practice-based medicine in the clinics, they were impressed."

He added, "I'm going to continue doing locums in my free time."

About CompHealth

Founded in 1979, CompHealth is the nation's leading provider of temporary and permanent physician staffing, as well as a leading provider of temporary and permanent allied health staffing. CompHealth prides itself on having the best people to help provide the best healthcare and is also a proud member of the CHG Healthcare Services family of companies, currently ranked No. 9 on FORTUNE magazine's list of "100 Best Companies to Work For" in America. To learn more about this award-winning company and its service offerings, visit www.comphealth.com, follow us on Twitter: @comphealth, or like us on Facebook.

CompHealth Physician Survey Methodology

The CompHealth Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 U.S. physicians, between February 3rd and February 17th 2012, using an email invitation and an online survey. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.