In our specialized society, the need for substitutes in technical or professional positions are increasingly filled by temporary workers, otherwise known as locum tenens. These positions are most often for physicians or other health care professionals, and members of the clergy. Professionals filling these types of jobs face both advantages and disadvantages. For professionals who enjoy travel and new challenges, this may prove to be a desirable job situation.
The main difference between a standard temporary position and that of a locum tenens is that the term is normally applied to jobs of a professional nature. The literal translation from Latin means to hold the place of, or in short, a substitute. Though the term originated from Medieval Latin, as an industry it is generally believed to have begun in the 1970s when physicians associated with the University of Utah received a grant to entice doctors to work in rural areas.
This system is commonly used in countries with a British heritage, i. E., the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc., where the shortened term locum is often used. In the US, the entire term is the preference, yet it is used almost exclusively for the health care industry. While the term is not always used for positions outside health care, it is accurately used to describe temporary workers in many professions.
The majority of locum positions are for doctors or other medical professionals and a staffing industry has grown to supply qualified individuals to the facilities where they are needed. An online search will list many firms which place physicians, technical professionals and executives in hospitals and clinics.
This job title is also used for temporary clergy assigned to churches in need of ordained officials. It may be applied to substitute judges, lawyers, teachers, firefighters, police and clergy, among others. But the common usage is primarily associated with health care.
While originally used to obtain doctors for positions in underdeveloped rural areas and countries, or in poor urban locations, the system has evolved into a way for professionals who would like to experience different positions or test localities to determine if they are good places to start a practice. Other candidates may want to experience unfamiliar assignments, local lifestyles, or being paid to travel. Higher pay is often an added benefit.
There are also some downsides to this type of position, namely, some benefits may not be offered, stress created by the nature of an unfamiliar job or the necessity to learn new skills, and the perception, especially by patients of a replaced physician, that the temporary doctor may provide lower quality care. The substitute may even be subjected to rules of which they were not made aware set by the facility or agency.
Overall, a locum tenens position may be the ideal choice for physicians just out of medical school or who have retired and are seeking an alternative work arrangement. This is a practical system for facilities needing to temporarily fill an assignment, or for physicians who want an opportunity to learn a specialty. For the adventurous type who enjoys exotic locations, offering their skills where they are most needed, and building new skills, this can be a fulfilling and inspirational occupation.
World experience can be very valuable to physicians. Physicians that choose to accept Locum Tenens jobs are choosing more than a position. Contemplate Locum Jobs Opportunities as part of your next career move.