Why Locum Tenens as Your First Job Makes Sense
You have completed your formal university education and now you’re coming to the end of your residency program. What’s next? You’ve undoubtedly received a ton of invitations from employers all over the country hoping you will come work for them. And yet, you are still unsure about what you want to do to start establishing your career. Here’s a suggestion: make locum tenens your first job.
Locum tenens employment was once considered an option of last resort for doctors unable to manage their own practices or hold down hospital employment. But that was the 1970s. Today, the locum tenens industry has risen to a place of prominence within the medical field. Locums are now very much respected. They are very much in demand, too.
Locum tenens work might make good sense as your first job. Below are a number of reasons why. Hopefully you will at least consider locum work before you attempt to make any decisions on a permanent hire opportunity. Working as a locum physician offers a lot that you might otherwise not be exposed to.
Your First Job May Not Last
According to Physician on Fire and other sources, there is only a 50-50 chance that you will keep your first permanent placement job for more than two years. Truth be known, doctors changing jobs within the first 2 to 5 years of employment is fairly common. It can take a while for a doctor to find a job that truly is satisfying.
If you choose locum tenens as your first job, you will have the opportunity to look around and be exposed to all sorts of work environments before you seek a permanent hire position. You’ll already have a better idea of what is out there long before you start scheduling interviews and plotting hiring strategies. As a result, you’ll stand a better chance of finding a great job you actually want to stick with.
Residency Only Goes So Far
The point of residency is to help doctors make the transition from university training to real-world practice. However, residency only goes so far in doing so. Why? Because the unrealistic expectations put on residences do not necessarily equate to life after residency. It is a far different thing to practice medicine outside the constraints of a regimented residency program.
Locum work gives the new doctor a golden opportunity to see real-world practice outside of residency constraints. That gives the doctor a better picture of what kinds of opportunities truly exist. Best of all, locum work gives the doctor the chance to test various waters without any of the stresses that come with private practice or permanent employment.
Locum Tenens Offers Greater Control
Last but not least is the reality that locum work offers doctors greater control over their own careers. If there’s one thing you should know about residency by now it’s the fact that you don’t have much control over what you’re doing day-to-day. Your time is strictly regimented out of necessity.
Upon completion of your residency, locum work gives you the opportunity to direct your career in any way you see fit. You can take assignments when and where you please, you can choose the kinds of work environments you want to be involved with, and you can even control your own schedule in whatever way helps you achieve your optimal work-life balance.
You don’t have to jump right into permanent employment the moment your residency ends. For a lot of new doctors, locum tenens makes a lot of sense as a first job. Maybe it makes sense for you too.