Curious about locum tenens? Locum Tenens derives from Latin and means “to hold the place of.” These days, the phrase has become associated with per diem medical care, specifically MDs. These dedicated doctors support hospitals and clinics across the country; covering when doctors are on leave or patient needs increase. They provide a resource previously unavailable.
Who Uses Locum Tenens?
These per diem professionals are primarily called on by hospitals and clinics. Often, they serve remote areas where it’s challenging to attract full-time doctors. They may be contracted for 90 days or many months to serve the local population.
In more populated areas, locum tenens are used to supplement a facility’s staff. They may cover for a leave of absence, such as maternity leave, and can support the daily need for a full staff.
Overall, per diem doctors work like on-call nurses do: They help to round out the schedule and provide appropriate coverage for patients.
When Are Locum Tenens a Good Idea?
The best time to use a locum tenens is to fill in staff gaps. These gaps could be the result of a variety of things, such as physician departure, unexpected absences, program expansion, or seasonal patient surges. Sometimes, physician departure happens when you’re not ready to hire and these temporary physicians come and assume the role until you are able to hire. Every physician needs to take a vacation, and sometimes it can be inconvenient given the current workload. Program expansion doesn’t happen often, but a locum tenens can help with the project until you accomplish it. Rises in tourism make certain locations extremely busy during specific seasons. It’s always a good idea to have some extra hands on deck for those extra people in the area.
Another time it’s a good idea is when you cannot find full-time staff. While other hospitals choose locum tenens to manage their labor budgets. It is entirely possible that a hospital or clinic could opt to have a larger section of their team be per diem medical care professionals. Ultimately, it depends on the needs of the facility and their patients.
What Can Locum Tenens Do?
The training and experience of traditional physicians and locum tenens are identical. The only difference is in how they choose to work. A locum tenens can fulfill some roles throughout a hospital.
All departments in a hospital benefit from the use of per diem medical care, whether duties include doing rounds, completing surgical procedures, or supporting the emergency department. On long-term assignments, these doctors build relationships with patients, just as full-time physicians do.
The focus of both a physician and a locum tenens is patient care. Locum tenens have sworn to uphold the same oath as their tenured colleagues, and take the vow just as seriously. They support the team at every turn and can be a valuable addition to a hospital or clinic’s staff.
If you’re curious if your facility can benefit from using per diem physicians, we encourage you to learn more. Please contact Sonoran Hospital Medicine, PLC with your questions or to schedule a consultation.