How Locum Tenens Are Buoying The Healthcare Industry

Cindy Wilson Thumbby Cindy Wilson
BS, Dietetics and Nutrition

It is no secret that the US healthcare industry is suffering from staff shortages. According to a recent study, the industry will be facing a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians over the next ten years, with an extra 195,000 nurse shortages and around a 37% increase in personal health aid openings. 

One way to solve this problem is with locum tenens. Utilised predominantly in the healthcare industry, several organisations are turning to a locum tenens company rather than trying to fill positions outright, and this could be a way to buoy the industry as it faces numerous challenges in the future.

how locum tenens are buoying the healthcare industry

What Are Locum Tenens?

To go by the literal definition – translated from Latin – locum tenens means “to hold the place of, to substitute for”. Around the world, locum tenens work at multiple healthcare facilities, occupying positions when they become vacant and filling in the gap until a full-time professional can be found.

Why Are They Growing More Popular?

Although the concept of locum tenens originated hundreds of years ago, the locum tenens industry technically began in the 1970s, when physicians in Utah needed to continue their medical education, but had a limited number of physicians to provide coverage for them. 

To fill the gap, they introduced temporary physicians who could keep firms running, before the permanent physicians completed their education and returned. 

Over the last few years, locum tenens are being used more and more, and that’s because – quite simply – there are more of them! Since 2020, job flexibility and pay have become even more of a priority, especially in the healthcare industry, and this has led doctors to become locum tenens rather than setting up a traditional practice. 

Physicians who work locum tenens have more flexibility in choosing their schedule and location and are compensated with a higher pay scale, which has made it become a rapidly growing field. 

How Are They Buoying The Healthcare Industry?

The benefits work both ways, too. As mentioned before, the healthcare industry is facing massive staff shortages, but this cannot be solved by rushing the recruiting process. In the US, healthcare organisations and hospitals are pushing even harder for top-rate professionals, and the landscape has grown very competitive. 

Attaining the perfect candidates, however, takes time – something these organisations don’t often have. Using a recruitment firm to hire locum tenens, however, is a great way to drastically reduce the time needed to find physicians for the long term, allowing the organisations to focus on the job at hand and maintaining the appropriate service for patients. Locum tenens can fill that gap for as long as necessary. Being temporary doesn’t mean a drop in skills or qualities, either. With more physicians choosing this line of work, the quality of the professionals being hired remains top-tier, only temporary – designed to stem the shortages and face the same challenges that any permanent physician would face. There will be plenty more healthcare challenges over the coming years, including financial restraints, new tech, and growing competition –  but locum tenens will continue to buoy the industry and keep it functioning well into the future.

About Author

Cindy Wilson Thumb
BS, Nutrition & Food Science | Connect with on LinkedIn
Cindy Wilson

Hello, I am Cindy, and this a website where I inspect everything related to nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. I have a BS in Dietetics and Nutrition (Kansas State University) and have completed a dozen specialty courses related to nutrition, biochemistry, and food science. I am open to learning more, but foremost I would like to share all my knowledge with you.

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