Locum Tenens for Emergency Medicine Physicians

Locum Tenens for Emergency Medicine Physicians

As demanding as medical school and residency are, many new doctors find that the job search is just as stressful. After all, you just spent the past four-plus years being trained in medicine, not in how to conduct the best physician job search.

One option you may not have considered yet is locum tenens. Locum tenens, or “place holder” physicians work short-term jobs of varying length in various locations while a hospital or other healthcare system searches for a permanent physician, while a permanent physician is on vacation or leave of absence or to cover staffing shortfalls. Use of locum tenens EM physicians is increasing, and it can be the right career direction for some emergency docs, and especially for those just starting out.

Why Might a New Emergency Physician Choose Locum Tenens?

Despite what you may have heard, locum tenens isn’t just for retired physicians! Some physicians who are freshly out of training choose locum tenens jobs out of necessity while they search for the ideal permanent assignment. Others may choose this type of employment so that they can explore different hospital settings in different locations to determine where they want to settle down. Still others may choose locum tenens as their preferred long-term career, due to the flexibility such arrangements allow.

Benefits of Working Locum Tenens

Locum tenens jobs offer a level of flexibility you simply won’t find in the traditional physician job search. Hourly rates for locum tenens doctors are also higher than hourly rates for traditionally employed EM physicians, though the locums physicians must manage their own tax obligations, retirement planning, health insurance and other benefits that traditionally employed doctors expect. For the EM physician who likes to travel, or who is interested in working fewer hours than is typical for emergency physicians, the benefits far outweigh the risks.

Special Considerations for Locum Tenens EM Physicians

All locum tenens physicians must be certain they are licensed to practice in the states where they seek employment. Furthermore, since EM physicians regularly prescribe controlled substances, they must be registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency.

During residency, physicians’ DEA registration is covered under the training hospital, but once training is over, doctors must obtain individual DEA registration. Fortunately, an online application is available to cut down on paperwork and bureaucratic red tape.

Locum tenens physicians can use their DEA registration number issued for a given location at other locations, including across state lines, as long as certain conditions are met.

  • The DEA registration number is used for activities carried out on behalf of a practitioner or facility that is already a DEA registrant.
  • All necessary licenses for practicing medicine and handling controlled substances are obtained for the location where work takes place.
  • The jobs are temporary, as is the case for locum tenens jobs.

How to Find EM Locums Jobs

Locum tenens is no longer considered just a career option for retired physicians who want to keep busy. It’s a great career path for people who want to work fewer hours while raising a family, who love travel or who simply want more control over the direction of their career. The demand for EM physicians in locum tenens jobs is strong and expected to remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Want to give locums a try? Get matched with locum tenens EM physician jobs on SHIFT.

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