In a recent webinar, Medicus Healthcare Solutions met with Gastroenterologist Dr. Page to gain insights into his experience transitioning from a W-2 physician to a 1099 locum tenens contractor with Medicus. Driven by burnout, the need for change, and a desire for career control, Dr. Page began the conversation by reflecting on his employed position, stating, “I think I just decided enough was enough, and I wanted to do things on my own terms. So, I left for locums and haven’t looked back since.”.

Selecting an Aligned Clinical Location:

As physicians shift from traditional employed positions to locum tenens, various opportunities unfold across hospitals and clinical settings. In navigating this shift, Dr. Page shared his approach to selecting the right clinical setting by aligning his search with his professional aspirations. He explained, "I didn't want to do clinic, and there are very few clinic locums; the majority are in-patient, almost 80% are in-patient, and the other 20% are just scopes. I knew I wanted to dedicate at least one week of in-patient work a month. So, I would specifically look for jobs that offered that.".

Additionally, when working locum tenens, travel often becomes a key consideration due to physicians filling in staffing gaps in various locations. However, for Dr. Page, the impact of location on his decision-making process was minimal. He emphasized, "Location didn't matter, whether it was going Midwest to down South, the main thing I was looking for was a mix of in-patient and outpatient scopes. Generally, I looked for locations where there is a lot of locum availability in that area.".

100% Career Control:

After years as a permanent gastroenterologist, Dr. Page’s move to locum tenens provided the career flexibility he sought. "After a while, you burn out easily, and switching to locums gave me total control. I get to determine how much I work; if I want to work more, I work more; if I want to go light during the summer, I can go light during the summer.". Beyond autonomy, Dr. P highlighted financial benefits, citing increased reimbursement rates and a heightened market for locum tenens.

In addition, Dr. Page expressed enthusiasm for the opportunity to work in various parts of the country. "Many think that it may be a pain — I could be in South Carolina one week of the month, then Massachusetts the other week, then Chicago another week — but it allowed me to see how medicine is practiced in different parts of the country, and I enjoy it. I enjoy meeting different people, seeing how populations differ, and interacting with diverse colleagues.".

Advice For Colleagues:

For physicians considering a career change from a permanent gastroenterology position to working gastroenterology locum tenens, Dr. Page gave sound advice, explaining, "It's a big change, especially if you have a family. But you don't have to go 100% locums; you could dip your toes and try it one week a month and see where it goes. I've met a lot of doctors along the way on this locums journey, and they are always surprised at how young I am because locums tend to be something that doctors do at the tail end of their careers, but when they saw me do it at this stage in my career, they told me I made the right decision, and they wished they'd done it earlier.". 

Time Commitments of Locum Tenens:

During the webinar, the Medicus team highlighted the flexibility of locum tenens commitments. As Dr. Page mentioned, physicians have the freedom to tailor their schedules to fit their preferences and existing work schedules. For instance, if you're a full-time W-2 employed doctor with weekends off, incorporating additional locum shifts on weekends is easily manageable. Physicians often strategically utilize their PTO to boost income while maintaining their current positions. The webinar emphasized that the time commitment in locum tenens is adaptable, providing a valuable perk for physicians and advanced practitioners.

Finding Stability in Locum Tenens:

Finding stability similar to that of an employed position when working locum tenens can often be a priority for physicians. For Dr. Page and many other physicians, one way to ensure they always have a locum tenens assignment lined up is by having multiple state licenses. The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC), an agreement among over 30 states, simplifies and expedites the licensure process. This compact allows eligible physicians to apply for licensure in multiple states through a single application, facilitating ease and efficiency in obtaining licenses and making navigating locum tenens assignments simpler.

To learn more about the IMLC, visit here.

Getting Started as a Locum Tenens Provider:

For those interested in beginning a career as a locum tenens physician, the Medicus team highlighted three pieces of advice on getting started:

  1. Have an up-to-date CV that includes your experience and past jobs.
  2. When you partner with Medicus, we gather information about your background and licensing and assist with the credentialing process.
  3. Have your fellowship certificates, MD certificate, any pieces of training or internships you've done, board certifications, immunizations, and vaccine information prepared and on hand.

If you're interested in working gastroenterology locum tenens with Medicus, view our available gastroenterology jobs here.

If you’re interested in a locum tenens career with Medicus, fill out the complete form below to connect with a Medicus recruiter.