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Use of Locum Tenens Up 22% in One Year

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, March 13, 2014

To accommodate its need for more PCPs, Britton says healthcare organizations are increasingly turning to nurse practitioners. Last year's survey showed organizations' use of NPs at 7.8%; this year that jumped to 15.38%—a 97% increase. NPs are viewed by many to be an answer to physician shortages, but others, such as the American Academy of Family Practitioners, believe improving reimbursement is key to slowing down the looming doc shortage

Samuel Williams, MD

Samuel Williams, MD

A Financial and Professional Boost

The profile of a locum tenens physician may be surprising. It's not the newly minted doctor who isn't sure where to put down roots. Instead, Britton says her research shows that half of all locum tenens physicians are mid-career professionals.

"We see that 90% of locum tenens physicians have 11 or more years of experience; 70% have more than 20 years of experience," she says.

Samuel Williams, MD, a general surgeon who retired from Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital in 2001 is an example of the latter. He's been practicing as a locum tenens provider for hospitals for five years.

"It's a boost, both financially and professionally," he told me while on his way to vacation with his family—something Britton points out as a perk of being a locum tenens doctor, particularly now because more physicians are looking for a work life balance rather than 100-hour work weeks.

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