Locum Tenens Builds Better Balance for Women in Medicine
Cardiothoracic surgeon Susan Trocciola, MD, has been accepting locum tenens jobs with All Star Healthcare Solutions since 2015. Along the way, she transitioned into a couple of full-time staff positions but concluded she prefers the freedom and flexibility of a locum tenens practice. As a cancer survivor, she believes it’s all about balance.
“It’s about being able to take time off to spend days with my nieces and nephews, and it’s about visiting my mom and dad. It’s all of that,” said Dr. Trocciola, who is also the 2023 All Star Cares Award recipient.
Indeed, locum tenens offers physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and certified registered nurse anesthetists an alternative career path that accommodates more room for professional and personal goals.
Beating Burnout with Better Balance
The number of women pursuing careers as physicians or advanced practice providers continues to grow. According to the most recent Census of Licensed Physicians in the U.S., produced by the Federation of State Medical Boards, women now represent 37 percent of the American physician workforce. However, the impact of today’s stressors affect women at greater percentages than their male peers. Per the 2023 Medscape Burnout and Depression Survey, 63 percent of female respondents report being burned out compared with 46 percent of men. What’s more, nearly half of the women responding to the 2023 Medscape Lifestyle and Happiness Survey admit to feeling conflict between their work and parenting responsibilities, which also ranks higher than men.
Locum tenens builds in flexibility that empowers you to address these and other issues in the pursuit of a more favorable distribution of your time and attention.
- Take control of your calendar with locum tenens
Ask any parent, guardian, or person with aging parents and they’ll probably tell you there just aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything for work and family and attend to one’s self-care needs. According to the 2022 American Time Use Survey, women spend 51 percent more time during the day caring for children, family members, and non-household individuals than do men.
Female providers who make locum tenens a full-time career choice more easily block out dedicated time for work, family, and self. For example, being on assignment may mean leaving home for a few days or weeks, but during that time, you are able to devote more of your attention to patient care without the distractions of administrative or management duties common to staff positions. When your shift ends, your time is your own to check in with family or attend to personal needs without the additional demands of a daily household to-do list.
Additionally, the time between contracts is open. You choose how to spend those days, such as focusing on family without work interruptions or daily commutes. Plus, as a locum tenens professional, you decide how often to take breaks between assignments and how long those breaks run. For family caregivers to children and/or elderly relatives, this scheduling approach allows more consecutive hours or days to address family needs without having to tack them on to a busy workday. It’s also conducive to individuals wanting to pull back on work hours, which is another method of self-care. Surveys show healthcare professionals believe schedule flexibility prevents burnout.
- Increase earning potential and other benefits with locum tenens
The 2022 Medscape Female Physician Compensation survey confirms 9 percent of respondents add medical moonlighting gigs to their schedules. Supplemental income from occasional temp jobs could enhance retirement earnings, cushion college savings, or speed up your plan to pay down debt.
However, there are several elements to the process that create their own unique value, whether you adopt the practice alternative full-time or intermittently. For example, All Star Healthcare Solutions typically provides liability insurance coverage to providers while on locum tenens assignments, handles necessary housing and travel logistics, and assists with credentialing.
“Not worrying about any of the details of an assignment, like housing and flights, is what makes All Star great. It allows me to just focus on patients. That’s what it’s all about, taking care of patients and doing the best I can,” said Dr. Trocciola.
- Ease into retirement with locum tenens
Over the past few years, the number of physicians contemplating retirement or early retirement has increased. And with the average age of nurse practitioners and CRNAs in the mid-40s and the average age of female physicians registering at 43.2 years old, per Data USA, retirement could be a prescient concern for many women currently working in medicine. Going from clocking 40-plus hours a week to working zero hours can be a stark adjustment. Just because you look forward to easing the daily grind doesn’t necessarily mean you’re 100 percent ready to hang up your stethoscope. The locum tenens option offers a bridge from full-time duties to semi-retirement. Temporary assignments enable you to maintain skills and make an impact on patients, but schedule flexibility allows you to transition on your terms.
To learn more about how a locum tenens career could create a better work/life balance for you and your family, call All Star Healthcare Solutions today at 800-928-0229, or contact us online.