Skip to content

icon picker
Locum tenens

Locums work can be very rewarding and can be a back-up in case you launch into a non-clinical career, only to find you don’t love it, or it doesn’t pay as well as you expected, or the demand is not there, or you need to maintain clinical contact, such as for expert witness work.
The travel can be tiring and it can be a strain to leave your family often.
Locums work pays well

Locums companies make it easy

find you jobs that you can accept or refuse
get you licensed with the hospital and the state
keep track of your records when you take on a different job
pay your malpractice (but not medical) insurance, and arrange your travel and lodging.
Though some docs do this right out of training, I think it is best as a semi-retirement plan - kids are out of the house, spouse has his/her own activities or work, your are confident in your skills and knowledge so that you can learn a new computer system and logistical system and can function well seeing a continuous flow of new patients on your own.
If you go back to the same place regularly, you can schedule patients to see you when you are back in town. This benefits you and the patients.


Locums pays well, usually in between private practice and expert witness.
You get to see different parts of the country
You get to see how medicine is done differently in different places


Traveling too much can drag you down.
You usually stay in plain old business hotels, like Hampton Inn - nothing fancy
Most jobs are in small towns in unexciting places - places were doctors and their spouses are not dying to go to
You can take your spouse, but what will he do there? What about your kids and your dog?
There are some fairly long-term assignments, like every other week for 6-12 months, but still there is little chance for long-term relationships with patients, colleagues, staff, or neighbors.
You may need to learn a new computer system
Paying quarterly estimated income tax is unpleasant, but not that much different than having taxes withheld on company paycheck.

Want to print your doc?
This is not the way.
Try clicking the ⋯ next to your doc name or using a keyboard shortcut (
) instead.