The Advantages of Repeat Locum Tenens Assignments

Two healthcare workers greeting with elbows due to coronavirus pandemic.Locum tenens opportunities may be short term or long term. But not all involve a new face in a new place. Some can be recurrent with the physician or advanced practitioner returning to the same facility for a given period over several months or more than a year. And these type of “repeat” assignments offer unique benefits for clinicians and clients alike.

A Client’s Point of View
Providers’ qualifications are thoroughly vetted, and their clinical experiences are matched to a facility’s requirements prior to the start of locums jobs. There is an added value to inviting back individuals who have shown themselves to be well suited to a facility’s a workplace culture. Often, a temporary clinician’s personality and approach meld so well with the staff that the client is eager to have him or her extend the commitment or regularly return if the staffing need persists.

Rather than going through the get-to-know-you stage, repeat assignments feel more like a colleague coming back to work after a sabbatical or leave and falling back in step with staff, which eases everyone’s transitions. Moreover, management also has a proven idea of how the doctor or advanced practitioner interacts with patients.

There is also a logistic advantage to offering locum tenens providers repeat assignments: they have already undergone the credentialing process. Although protocols may demand individuals reapply for hospital or practice privileges with each opportunity, most of the original legwork has been completed. That can be a substantial timesaver, enabling clinicians to come back and begin seeing patients as quickly as possible.

For smaller or rural hospitals utilizing locum tenens to bring specialists into their communities because resources or demand do not support a permanent position, repeat assignments can promote another layer of continuity of care. Seeing familiar faces can promote relationships and trust-building between patients and providers, too.

A Provider’s Point of View
While there is a segment of locum tenens professionals that seeks the adventure of practicing in one new facility and city after the other, there are clinicians who prefer some consistency in their work life while benefitting from the freedom of short-term commitments. For this group, repeat contracts offer the best of both worlds.

John Morrissey, MD, a physician specializing in pulmonary/critical care medicine who enjoyed working locum tenens one week a month for two years at a facility in North Carolina, talks about the rewards of discovering a new area, building friendships, and giving his family a glimpse of the locum lifestyle.

Like the client’s perspective, physicians, NPs, PAs, and CRNAs who do locums may appreciate the familiarity inherent to encore opportunities. Having knowledge of the clinical setup, such as where supplies are stored or who to call for consults, accelerates re-acclimation. What’s more, returning to a hospital, clinic, practice, or other healthcare organization potentially offers occasions to follow up on cases and build greater rapport with patients they previously treated. On a personal note, getting reacquainted with coworkers further strengthens friendships.

Multiple assignments also encourage frequent visitors to learn more about a community because there is plenty of time to explore attractions that perhaps were passed over on earlier stays.

What Works Best for Both
The great thing about locum tenens practice is that neither clients nor providers are bound to a single approach. The choice to ask for or agree to an encore contract depends on what works best for each party at that time.

To learn more about locum tenens opportunities that appeal to you, including the possibility of repeat assignments, call 800-928-0229 to speak with one of our experienced consultants or contact us online.