How To Find Your Ideal Practice Setting as a Locum Tenens Physician


One of the most important steps in any physician’s career is choosing a practice setting, whether the importance lay in the specialty, geographical location, volume of work, or special considerations like wanting to work in high-need areas.  This decision is an especially concerning for residents and fellows, or those just out of training.

Finding an ideal practice setting means setting goals based on your personal work preferences and dreams for your professional future.  For many physicians today, it can be a monumental task finding time, between heavy patient loads and paperwork, to plan accordingly and reach your true long-term professional goals.  Residents, especially notorious for being overworked, seem to have difficulties in planning ahead once they are out of training.

Additionally, many of the factors that go along with finding jobs in healthcare are time consuming and stressful.  Traveling, interviewing, weighing options, and relocating are all part of the career search.  Taking a job as a locum tenens physician is a great way to do each of these, without a long-term commitment, while still earning a great living.

See The Country

As a locum you have the ability to enjoy the opportunities available nationwide in a “risk free” setting.  Allowing you to gauge the lifestyle differences across urban and/or rural geographical areas; then choosing the right one for you.  With the volume of positions, especially locum tenens hospitalist roles, increasing throughout the nation; you may even have a shot at living in your ideal location whether it is close to family or in some region you’ve always dreamed of living in.   It can also be a perfect chance to experience differences in solo, small group, multi-specialty, or hospital-associated practices before actually beginning your career.

Gain Valuable Insight

In addition to traveling opportunities and variation in practice settings, locum tenens positions also provide opportunities to garner valuable insight on compensation and workplace settings in each role.  By interviewing other physicians with similar training as you or training you wish to pursue, you can negotiate better salaries when the time comes to practice full-time somewhere.  You can also learn how high to low volume practice settings fit into your personal work style and overall abilities.  If you are one that prefers a deep relationship and more time with patients, a low volume setting may be best.  However, if you thrive on excitement and constant change, then a high volume setting may be a better fit.

As a new physician or a physician in training the variety and increasing number of locum tenens opportunities allows you to practice on a trial basis, before deciding what works best for you.  It also allows you to build experience and compensation rates through a series of short-term assignments.  If you need help breaking into this area of healthcare jobs, reach out to a locum tenens recruiter here at MPLT Healthcare (formerly MedPartners Locum Tenens). We are happy to help you get your career started today.