How Locum Tenens Can Help Female Providers Beat Burnout
The gender gap among medical providers is shrinking: In 2019, the majority of medical school enrollment spots was held by women for the first time, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Plus, the advanced practice professions continue to be a prominent career choice for women, who account for 82 percent of nurse practitioners (NPs) and nearly 70 percent of physician assistants (PAs), according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and an annual report from the National Commission on the Certification of PAs, respectively.
Unfortunately, when it comes to burnout, females admit to experiencing it more often than male colleagues. As a report by EHR vendor Athenahealth (highlighted by Becker’s Hospital Review) shows, it is partially attributed to logging more hours on and off the job, as well as attending to most of the family and home responsibilities. However, working locum tenens can help mitigate many of these differences, making it an attractive career alternative for female providers.
Time is on Your Side
The role of a healthcare provider is a busy one, with clinicians oftentimes committing more than 40 hours a week to the job. For many women, the day doesn’t end with the last patient.
Of course, locum tenens providers’ days are busy, too, but shifts lack many of the administrative requirements placed on regular staff. Indeed, while on duty, you’re often able to give greater focus to patient care. For some, that redistribution of duties renews interest in the profession.
“In my experience working full time close to home, I was missing a lot of time with my family, like important dates, birthdays, and holidays,” says Melissa Mauro, MD, an internal medicine hospitalist who has been accepting locum tenens jobs for three years.
Your Skills are in Demand
Although women practice in every medical specialty, the highest representation of female physicians remains in pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, endocrinology, family medicine, and internal medicine, per Medscape. These also are some of the specialties in high demand, especially in underserved communities—studies show both rural and urban areas contain “OB deserts.” Temporary staff help facilities meet the need, while offering locum tenens providers the chance to leave a positive impact on a community by providing high-quality care.
The demand for advanced practice professionals continues to grow, too. From family practice to maternity and women’s healthcare to other specialties, facilities contract with locum tenens NPs and PAs to fill staffing gaps and offer people greater access to quality care.
A Beneficial Pay Scale
The Medscape Female Physician Compensation Report 2021 revealed a 27 percent earnings disparity between women and men in primary care. Male specialists banked one-third more than female peers. Locum tenens, however, can help level the field. Hourly rates for short-term contracts are based on the area’s market value, and sometimes even exceed pay for regular staff. What’s more, many of the costs are covered for you. For example, All Star Healthcare Solutions pays the malpractice insurance for providers while on contract.
“With locum tenens, you can negotiate for your rates,” says Kimberly Sperber, DNP, NNP-BC, neonatal nurse practitioner with six years of locum tenens experience. “All Star’s consultants are going to be your voice.”
Better Family Balance
Locum tenens opportunities empower you to decide your professional schedule, and settings. If you like extended weekends instead of multiple weeks, tell your All Star consultant. If you only want the occasional temporary position closer to home, let your consultant know. Even if you opt to embrace the career alternative full-time and like to travel to multiple locales, it’s up to you how much time to take off between positions. This flexibility encourages a family-friendly balance because time with loved ones is more concentrated, with fewer interruptions due to call or office demands.
“My husband and daughter travel with me, and we usually choose areas near where my adult children and grandkids live. That way, I end up seeing more of my family than if I was practicing in one place,” says Zainab Shamma, MD, who specializes in pulmonology and critical care.
If you think you could benefit from the locum tenens lifestyle, call 800-928-0229 to speak with one of All Star’s dedicated consultants, or contact us online.