3 Ways Locum Tenens Promotes Staff Retention

The physician shortage, which has existed for years and shows no sign of easing, forces hospitals, health systems, clinics, and private practice groups to increase efforts to recruit providers. Attracting quality clinicians is even more crucial as COVID-19 continues to impact facilities and patient care nationwide.

Effective staffing strategies also invest in retention efforts to stem turnover. After all, when physicians leave, it feeds the demand for more recruitment.

Doctors choose to leave a permanent position for different reasons. Some wish to experience a new clinical setting. Another motivation could be the desire to relocate – either with family or to be closer to their loved ones. And of course, burnout – which, according to a study led by Harvard Business School, costs the U.S. healthcare system between $2.6 billion and $6.3 billion annually – causes a number of clinicians to consider a job change. Now, stress related to the global health crisis is a factor as well.

According to the newly released 2021 Medscape Physician Burnout and Suicide Report, 42 percent of doctors admit to feeling burned out, and the pandemic appears to have impacted some specialties more than others. In addition, the report reveals the same percentage of physicians indicate “more manageable work and schedule” would most help to reduce their burnout. Such changes could affect an organization’s ability to meet patient needs. And as hospital administrators and/or other facility decision-makers endeavor to fill scheduling voids, they could unwittingly instigate a cycle that perpetuates diminishing job satisfaction – another reason that clinicians seek new employment arrangements.

In response, healthcare organizations have instituted various initiatives to boost physician retention, such as supplementing permanent personnel models with locum tenens. Here are three ways incorporating the locum tenens staffing solution can help elevate professional satisfaction among permanent physicians, thereby encouraging them to stay on the job.

Sharing the caseload
Too many hours on shift can trigger burnout, and understaffed facilities oftentimes ask doctors to stay longer because caseloads remain high. Locum tenens physicians can step in to assume some of the clinical responsibilities. This can relieve some of the burden on staff, reduce the need for overtime, and offer continuity of care. The result: Patients are not waiting longer to see doctors or rescheduling due to lack of provider availability.

Covering time off
Every provider needs to take breaks occasionally, be it for vacation, family leave, or mental health and well-being. Of course, hospitals must continue to admit patients and office-based practices still book appointments when their staff takes well-earned time off. However, during these times, they can use locum tenens to cover shifts for staff who will be out for several days, a few weeks, or even months at a time.

Injecting a fresh perspective
While routines offer a sense of comfort, introducing someone new – even on a temporary basis – can energize staff with a fresh perspective. Locum professionals bring with them a wealth of experiences from the assignments they accept in various locales and settings. Witnessing different practice nuances or observing new approaches or techniques may just be a spark that renews a professional curiosity and breaks people out of their routines.

While retention programs offer a financial payoff for employers and promote a personal satisfaction for clinicians, they are not the only beneficiaries. There is evidence they also promote greater patient satisfaction.

From recruitment for permanent positions to solving temporary staffing issues with locum tenens, All Star is ready to help. We provide healthcare facilities with full-service staffing solutions and deliver our signature “Red Carpet” Service to clients and providers at every interaction. Call us today at 800-928-0229 to learn how we can support your staffing strategies!