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What Are Locum Tenens Assignments for Advanced Practice Providers (APPs)?

November 21, 2023

The locum tenens model has become a staple of modern healthcare facilities’ staffing strategies. Numerous healthcare facilities use this approach to fill advanced care provider roles and ensure quality patient care. Typically, locum tenens assignments are available to healthcare providers such as:

  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs)
  • Emergency Medicine Physicians
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Physician Assistants
  • Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners (CRNPs).


But what is locum tenens? And more importantly, how do locum tenens jobs impact your professional journey? Join us as we explore the meaning and benefits of locum tenens.


What is Locum Tenens?

Locum tenens, meaning “to hold the place of” in Latin, refers to healthcare professionals who temporarily fill positions at healthcare facilities. Originally developed to meet the demand for medical professionals in underserved areas, the concept has grown to encompass a wide range of temporary staffing needs across the healthcare industry.


Locum tenens positions are defined by their temporary nature, offering professionals the chance to work in different locations for varying periods. These roles can range from a few days to several months, providing substantial flexibility. Organizations looking for temporary staffing solutions often turn to the locum tenens.


While locum tenens roles are not permanent jobs, some positions offer the same hours as a full-time job. Additionally, the hourly rate of locum tenens positions is typically higher than the standard pay rate for full-time employees. That is because locum tenens clinicians are independent contractors and don’t receive traditional benefits, such as 401(k) contributions and healthcare.


There is a common misconception that locum tenens assignments are designed for late-career professionals or those unable to secure permanent positions. However, it’s a viable option for healthcare workers at any career stage, offering diverse experiences and opportunities.


For instance, you might want to make your own schedule and prefer roles that offer a better work/life balance. Those traits make you a potentially ideal candidate for locum tenens staffing opportunities.


Benefits of Locum Tenens for APPs

The question “What is locum tenens?” has now been explored and answered. That means it’s time to discuss the unique benefits that this staffing framework has to offer.


Flexibility in Schedule

Most locum tenens positions are part-time, which means you’ll enjoy significant flexibility in your work schedule. Maintaining schedule flexibility will help you avoid burnout and enjoy a better work/life balance.


When searching for locum jobs, you can prioritize positions with a relatively low number of weekly work hours. For instance, if you want to work just 24 hours per week, you could search for jobs that require you to work just three 8-hour or two 12-hour shifts per week.


Travel Opportunities

Advanced practitioners like yourself can also use locum tenens opportunities to travel throughout the nation. However, you’ll have to meet credentialing and state license requirements for the jurisdiction you want to travel to. You’ll also have to navigate privileging processes so that you can deliver patient care services at host organizations.


The good news, though, is that locum tenens recruiters typically handle many of these processes on your behalf. They will help you locate opportunities that align with your career goals and travel preferences. Since most contracts last only a few weeks to a few months, you can change locations several times throughout the year.


Competitive Compensation

Due to the temporary and sometimes urgent need for locum tenens professionals, positions often come with competitive salaries and benefits. Locum tenens positions in highly sought-after specialties like anesthesiology, family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics (OB/GYN), and pediatrics offer particularly exceptional pay opportunities.


Many job opportunities even include per diem pay or bonuses, which are designed to help with travel expenses, living costs, and other miscellaneous expenses that you’ll incur.


Professional Growth & Networking

Working in different settings allows you to gain a broad range of experiences, which contributes to your long-term professional growth. You can work in rural communities, major metropolitan areas, hospitals, small practices, and a variety of other environments.


By taking advantage of locum tenens opportunities, you can hone your skills and set yourself on a path of lifelong development.


Explore Open Locum Tenens Roles

How Locum Tenens Works

The locum tenens process includes the following four key steps:


1. Finding Locum Tenens Opportunities

First, you’ll need to find locum tenens opportunities that align with your career aspirations. You can coordinate directly with healthcare facilities to find these opportunities or work with a recruiting agency. The latter approach is more efficient, as it allows you to compare vacancies across a specific region or field.


2. Credentialing and Licensing Process

Next, you’ll have to undergo credentialing processes and obtain the necessary licensing for each new assignment. Staffing agencies often facilitate this process to save time and ensure that you have the appropriate licensing necessary to fill the vacancies you are interested in.


3. Onboarding and Orientation

Upon placement, you’ll have to complete an orientation to familiarize yourself with the new work environment and protocols. During onboarding, the host organization will provide you with basics like an ID badge and login credentials to use their patient care software.


4. Working as a Locum Tenens Provider

After you complete onboarding, you are ready to start working as a locum tenens provider. While the general work you do may be the same at each location, environmental factors and team dynamics can vary greatly. Therefore, adaptability is key.


Addressing Concerns and Challenges

As a locum tenens provider, you will face challenges such as adapting to new environments, understanding different workplace cultures, and managing the administrative aspects of your role. You will also have to get acclimated to different types of software, which can be somewhat tedious.


Locum tenens staffing creates challenges for healthcare facilities as well. The most pressing issue is ensuring that locum tenens staff are fully credentialed and compliant with relevant regulations.


Locum tenens staffing solutions providers bridge the gap between healthcare facilities and care providers. The most reputable staffing partners streamline onboarding processes, verify credentials, and connect providers with facilities that are a good match for their skill sets.


Exploring Locum Tenens Opportunities

Advanced care providers are best suited for locum tenens positions, which include:

  • CRNAs
  • ARNPs
  • Physician Assistants
  • Physicians
  • Nurse Practitioners


Locum tenens providers thrive in hospitals and clinics, as well as remote care organizations. Private practices also lean on locum tenens providers to fill gaps in their staffing and meet the needs of their patients. The orthopedic, psychiatry, OB/GYN, and emergency medicine specialties tend to have some of the highest demand for locum tenens providers.


So is locum tenens right for you? Perhaps. You are likely a good fit for a locum tenens position if:

  • You enjoy taking on new challenges
  • You want flexibility and a work-life balance
  • You have an interest in traveling
  • Your career goals include broadening your horizons


If that sounds like you, you’ll find a plethora of locum tenens positions available.


Projected Market Growth

According to a Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) report, the locum tenens market is expected to expand at a rate of 8% in 2024. Numerous factors are driving the continued demand for healthcare professionals, including:


Aging Population

As the U.S. population ages, the demand for skilled providers will continue to rise. Individuals entering their senior years have a greater need for medical services, ranging from preventive care to chronic disease management.


The demographic shift necessitates a corresponding increase in skilled healthcare providers. These professionals will help meet the growing healthcare needs of this segment of the population.


Staffing Shortage

Staffing shortages present a significant challenge to the healthcare industry. By 2034, the United States is expected to experience a physician shortage of 124,000 providers.


This gap between supply and demand underscores the critical role locum tenens professionals can play in mitigating the impact of these shortages. In particular, they will help ensure that patient care standards are maintained even in the midst of workforce constraints.


Flexibility and Autonomy

Another factor contributing to the growth of the locum tenens market is the increasing desire for flexibility among healthcare professionals. Many are seeking work arrangements that allow for a better work-life balance, varied experiences, and the opportunity to work in diverse settings. Locum tenens positions cater to these preferences, offering professionals the chance to shape their careers in ways that align with their personal and professional goals. As such, the locum tenens market is expanding and evolving to meet the changing needs and aspirations of today’s healthcare workforce.

Explore Open Locum Tenens Roles


Understanding Locum Tenens with GHR

The locum tenens work model provides much-needed flexibility for healthcare professionals while enabling facilities to meet critical staffing needs. Moreover, this model increases the quality of patient experiences and facilitates the timely delivery of care, thereby improving patient outcomes.


Locum tenens open positions represent a great opportunity for providers like you to supplement your primary income or obtain flexible work positions that expand your horizons. GHR Healthcare can help you explore locum tenens healthcare job opportunities near you. Check out our job listings pages or connect with one of our recruiting experts to learn more.


Fill out our quick application form and connect with a recruiter who can find your ideal locum tenens assignment!

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