Locum Tenens Opportunities
There are no course in our Curriculum at the School of Medicine to explain how to approach a new Job offer and understand a supplement of income. It is difficult for us to understand how we are going to get paid. Many of us facing retirement are in the same position especially when we are looking for a Locum position to supplement a social security income. There is a misconception that a permanent position might offer more compensation.
There is a physician shortage especially following the COVID-19 period, The Association of American Medical Colleges has a prevision that a shortage of up to 140,000 physicians is expected by 2033. to when so many took the opportunity to file for retirement. This represent a huge demand and vacant positions will be difficult to fill. This is why the Locum Tenens opportunities bring a new opportunity to many to work in different areas and fields. They may be at ease to even negotiate their salary and giving you the opportunity to be employed at different positions with more flexibility. Let us see how to negotiate your Locum tenens pay rate because the daily rate is largely driven by market demand, by specialty and by the need for such specialist in the different institutions. This brings to the one looking for the position a certain control that can boost the pay rate.
Many components may enter in play like the Location of the assignment, the skills and the qualifications of the candidate, his/her availability, his/her experience, the length of the commitment, the willingness to take calls and preform work during week-ends. All can be a lever for negotiation and may decide on a pay rate increase.
Nobody taught us anything about Locum Tenens and experiences over the years have allowed us to understand well the system. Unfortunately, our age actually may decrease the ability to perform what we used to accomplish at a younger age, but these advices will certainly benefit our younger physicians in the search for a better life. They can push the negotiation as far as they want.
The locum physician is in control and he needs to set up his priorities prior to any negotiations. What are you looking for in the Job and how much compromise you can tolerate. There may have some deal breaker that you will not accept. By example a job within a certain parameter 30 to 45 miles. You may have a choice of a facility or a group of physicians for which you would like to work or even a certain consistency in the length of the assignments in order a have a better fit.
You may want the freedom to chose when and how long you want to stay in an assignment, but remember that more flexible you are for the facility , the better they will see your willing to work with them toward the well-being of the institution. You can be available for week days or week-ends, and be able to perform some night shifts or week-end calls or simply some extra-calls.. They may want you to cover holidays as well and you will have to show your flexibility because the permanent physicians may not be available for these days. If you are able to cover the requested time, you may request more pay as well.
It is believed that almost 90% of American Healthcare Facilities use locum tenens physicians in the country in rural areas or major cities. Physician have a tendency in choosing their locum position in facilities located in urban large cities or near a large city. But; it looks like if you are requested for an assignment in a rural city, you may be offered more money for the assignment. You will have to keep in mind the location of the cities and believe that the more rural the city is the cheaper will be life. But if the rural area is not appealing, you also may request more money to go and work for a facility.
The more you keep coming back in a facility, the more you become known and they can appreciate the work you are doing, If you are reliable, the hospital may request you back or offer you rotation for a longer period of time. You may develop a relation with the other members of the staff and you can be requested to come more often. This makes built a loyal relationship with the staff and the locum agency would be happier to send you back to the assignment as often that you are requested and performing well.
You will built a reputation and build experience especially if it is your first rotations after residency training. Experience brings expertise and better paye to those locum job. You may choose to work as well to work in different states and carry multiple licenses. Physicians near to retirement like to perform locum jobs and may carry multiple licenses but each year, they will have to be renewed. Often the agency hiring you for the job can include such renewal to the package being offered for your new assignment.
A package is offered while an assignment is secured with malpractice insurance with tail, Travel expenses, Lodging, rental car and mileage and re-imbursement. Meals and incidental can be part of the deal per diem. Compensation is set through an 8 hour/day plus overtime and on call-time.
The negotiation may not be always easy for everyone especially when you are an “apprentice” and when you do not know how far you can go in the discussion. These agencies may present different candidate and the facilities may ask them to “bid” on the job with a qualified candidate. You have to be aware of the compensation to skillfully able to get the best offer for the physician. You will need also to know what an average physician with the same specialty is receiving in the desired geographical area in order to come with a definite figure of salary. You may request a higher salary knowing that the institution will decrease the bid. Be confident in your discussion and be prepared to negotiate and accept. They need you and even if they say no, they will offer a counter price.
Maxime Coles MD