Locum Tenens Physician and Advanced Practitioner Careers
Medical Doctor Associates

Working Locum Tenens

What is Locum Tenens?

“Locum tenens” is a Latin phrase that loosely translates to mean “to hold a place.” A locum tenens physician or advanced practitioner temporarily fills in for another during vacations, maternity leave, conferences and other absences. While emergency coverage has been the traditional use for locum tenens providers, in recent years, they have also been used to launch new services or fight burnout among a facility’s permanent staff. Physicians and advanced practitioners who work locum tenens enjoy greater flexibility in their schedules and are able to focus on the reason they got into medicine in the first place – patient care.

If you’re interested in locum tenens, it’s easy to get started with MDA. Simply call 1.800.780.3500 and ask to speak with a recruiter who represents your practice specialty. Your recruiter will guide you through every step of the locum tenens process to ensure that you find the opportunity you want while receiving the superior service you deserve. You can also tell us a little about yourself here, and an experienced MDA recruiter will be in touch with you shortly.

Our Business is Your Calling

No matter your specialty, every physician and advanced practitioner shares a common mission: Care for All. At Medical Doctor Associates, Care for All is our business and our purpose. From the first moments of life to the very last, you are right there with patients. And MDA is devoted to helping you live well in this lifelong devotion to wellness.

When you work with MDA, one of our experienced, specialty-specific recruiters will work to find you locum tenens opportunities that suit your strengths, skills, schedule and geographic preferences. We wholeheartedly believe that you shouldn’t have to trade the opportunity you want for the service you deserve, which is why we deliver both. MDA also provides quick and convenient pay via direct deposit and the most comprehensive liability insurance available.

Contact us today to learn more or search current opportunities.

Long-term Physician and Advanced Practice Opportunities

Medical Doctor Associates offers locums-to-perm (also known as temp-to-perm or temporary-to-permanent) opportunities as another option for physicians and advanced practitioners seeking a permanent position. A locums-to-perm position is essentially a working interview, which helps you to make a more informed final decision based on your personal experience.

Why work locums-to-perm?

  • Geographic uncertainty: If you’re considering relocating to a different part of the country, working locums-to-perm is a great way to experience the climate, culture and lifestyle of a given place before making it your permanent home.
  • Try out a practice setting: A temp-to-perm opportunity allows you to evaluate a hospital, clinic or practice hands on before you and the facility decide whether it’s wise to take the relationship to the permanent level.
  • Get to know the patient base: Working locums-to-perm can help you gain a greater understanding of a community before serving it on a permanent basis, thus improving your chances for personal satisfaction and professional success.

Medical Doctor Associates can help you determine if locums-to-perm is right for you. Contact us to learn more about these or traditional permanent placement opportunities.

From philosophical to financial, the reasons physicians and advanced practitioners cite for working locums are nearly as varied as the number of medical specialties practiced today. Here are some of the most common reasons for choosing to live the locums lifestyle:

  • Work/life balance and career flexibility. Working locum tenens gives you space to breathe and a higher quality of life, and it also lets you balance your work life with your family life because you get to choose when you work and where you work. So, whether you’re looking to spend more time with your kids, step back from work but not fully retire, or enjoy life’s other pursuits, locum tenens could be a great fit.
  • Trying out a new position before committing to anything permanent. Locum tenens allows you to gain hands-on experience in a given position, helping you to make a more informed decision about whether a position is a good fit and a sound permanent choice. After all, what you see in the interview isn’t always what you get in the actual position.
  • Traveling and exploring new destinations. The need for locum tenens physicians and advanced practitioners can be found across the country in rural and urban settings and everywhere in between, which means there are plenty of opportunities to experience new places or get reacquainted with familiar ones. Locum tenens providers often enjoy this exploration without spending a dime, as travel and housing are typically provided by the contracting facility.
  • Avoiding the administrative aspects of a traditional medical practice. Which is more satisfying: paperwork or patients? While you will still have some paperwork to complete, locum tenens lets you step away from the business side of the healthcare profession and immerse yourself in what you do best – treating patients and making a difference in the lives of others.

Q: What does the term "locum tenens" mean?

A: "Locum Tenens" is a Latin phrase that loosely translates to mean "to hold a place." A locum tenens physician or advanced practitioner is one who temporarily fills in for another provider while they are out on vacation, maternity leave, professional training, etc. The term is now often expanded to mean a provider who is filling any gap in a medical staff, whether temporarily filling in for another, filling a vacancy until a permanent healthcare professional is hired or assisting with seasonal coverage needs.

Q: What are some of the advantages of locum tenens vs. permanent practice?

A: Working as a locum tenens healthcare professional with Medical Doctor Associates offers a greater level of choice and control in your career path, as well as the ability to travel and explore new practice settings. Additionally, physicians and advanced practitioners doing locum tenens work are able to concentrate on patient care and avoid much of the paperwork associated with traditional practice.

Q: I just retired. Is locum tenens a good fit for me?

A: Many providers who step back from the rigors of a busy day-to-day practice still enjoy practicing medicine on a limited basis. Locum tenens allows you to control your schedule and choose the times and places to practice. It allows you the freedom to do what you enjoy & practice medicine.

Q: Can I bring my spouse and/or children with me while fulfilling a locum tenens contract?

A: In most cases, yes. In some cases, you can even bring your pets too! A good reason for choosing to work locum tenens before going into a permanent practice is so your family can experience the community before moving. Bringing your family along while you provide coverage isn't a problem, but each opportunity has its own parameters, and it is best to speak with your recruiter to determine the best scenario for traveling with your family.

Q: How much control will I have over the location of my locum tenens assignments?

A: It's all up to you. Freedom of choice and flexibility are big benefits of locum tenens. The more flexible you are about where you will work, the more opportunities we can present for your consideration. However, it is not uncommon for a locum tenens healthcare professional to restrict himself/herself to working exclusively in one state or region.

As a locum tenens physician or advanced practitioner, you are an independent contractor and are completely free to determine the direction of your career & how often you work, where you work and how long you work.

Q: How long do locum tenens contracts last?

A: Locum tenens contracts range in length from just a few days to in excess of a year. Contract lengths vary as much as the reasons why facilities need locum tenens coverage. The specialty in which you practice greatly influences the average contract length.

Q: Does MDA provide employment benefits to locum tenens healthcare professionals?

A: No. While there are many advantages to working in locum tenens, you are an independent contractor and are not eligible for employee benefits. However, you are eligible for a great deal of other benefits that come with working as an independent contractor. Consult a tax professional for more details.

Q: How does MDA pay contracted locum tenens workers?

A: Locum tenens physicians and advanced practitioners are independent contractors and competitive compensation is typically based on hourly shifts or daily terms. Providers are paid weekly, and professional liability, travel and lodging expenses are covered as needed. As an independent contractor, taxes are not withheld and you will receive a 1099.

Q: Am I responsible for my own travel and housing for each locum tenens contract?

A: It depends on the client's needs and your preferences, but generally no, unless otherwise agreed. MDA will arrange for all your travel and housing with our in-house Travel and Housing Department, and the costs will be paid by the facility where you will provide services. This excludes situations where the locum tenens provider lives locally.


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