Using Locums to Take a Gap Year

Rome Europe Italia travel summer tourism holiday vacation background -young smiling girl with mobile phone camera and map in hand standing on the hill looking on the cathedral VaticanWould it surprise you to learn that nearly half of all college students on a medical school track have taken at least one gap year?

Gap years have become a popular break from academics in exchange for gaining life experiences, often including travel or volunteering. And according to a Gap Year Association survey, there are numerous benefits associated with taking off for prolonged periods, such as a greater sense of personal development from interacting with individuals from various backgrounds and cultures other than their own. More than three-fourths of respondents also stated they acquired skills during a gap year that could either benefit their future careers or at least affected their professional goals. Additional perks included extensive travel, living in new locations, and exploring career options.

These happen to be some of the same reasons providers opt for locum tenens. So, given the parallel advantages, the question becomes: Could physicians and advanced practitioners utilize the career alternative to create gap-year opportunities? The answer is yes, and here are a few examples of why it could work.

Post-Residency Respite
Four to five years of undergraduate studies plus years attending medical school and residency training add up to a long stretch of intense academic and clinical demands. A gap year after residency could be a much-welcomed break from those pressures.

However, financial responsibilities, such as student loans, may preclude some people from fully embracing the philosophy of a gap year. Supplementing it with locum tenens opportunities could make it doable. Short-term assignments enable you to earn an income while controlling your schedule. You do not have put in 40-plus hours per week. You could look for assignments that require only a few days a month or take off weeks between contracts. Working locums can provide other gap-year benefits, too, like trying out various clinical settings to help form future career decisions.

Focus on Family
The push/pull between personal and professional lives has long been a battle for providers with families. But a gap year that includes periodic locum tenens positions can help strike a more rewarding balance. When not on an assignment, parents can concentrate on more family time, from attending special school and recreational events to simply being home for loved ones’ daily needs without being interrupted by commutes, long office hours, or being on call.

Completing Medical Missions
It is quite common for students to use a gap year to volunteer abroad. Similarly, clinicians fulfill medical missions in underserved communities, which also are opportunities to experience new cultures, languages, and meet people from other backgrounds.

Finding the flexibility to step away for weeks or months, however, can prove difficult for hospital staff or partners in a private practice group. In this case, locum tenens can help both physicians and employers. Providers who accept locum tenens positions already have greater freedom to take longer breaks, so it is more feasible to commit to a medical mission. Healthcare organizations can engage a locum tenens staffing firm, like All Star Healthcare Solutions, as well, to fill the void left by providers requesting extended leave.

Of course, taking a full year off work may not fit everyone’s circumstances. Fortunately, you do not have to make that kind of long-term commitment to enjoy the many benefits common to a typical gap year thanks to the advantages of locum tenens.

To learn more about All Star Healthcare Solutions, our signature “Red Carpet” Service, and how doing locum tenens can help you take a gap year, call us at 800-928-0229 to speak with one of our experienced consultants.