Each practitioner has their reasons for doing locums. Some have chosen to do locums to fill temporary gaps in their work schedule, and others have incorporated it into their life as a primary or secondary source of income. Others use locums simply to stay connected to medicine while working on other carriers, projects, and dealing with family obligations. There are many opportunities out there for practitioners looking for locums-type work.
This article encourages the practitioner to look at locums “done differently.” It starts with thinking about how you can do locums-type work to practice medicine differently. In our efforts to redefine the term locums, we have listed the categories of locums to enlighten practitioners about different ways of doing locums-type work.
Full-time Locums. Just like a traditional full-time employment position, you can work enough doing locums to be considered full-time. Maybe you work enough hours at one facility to be regarded as a full-time equivalent (FTE) or at multiple facilities where you do enough work that equals the equivalent of someone with a full-time position.
Part-time Locums. If you are someone that only wants to work 7-10 days per month or every other week, consider part-time locums. Part-time is for anyone that wants to improve work-life balance and time for other things in their lives.
Moneybags Locums. If you like to work a lot and make great money, consider Moneybags Locums.Practitioners work 4-6 weeks straight or 25-30 days monthly. Even though this might take a toll on your body, the money can be significant. Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching!
Limited Locums. We struggled to come up with the right name for this category to describe those practitioners that rarely do locums. We thought of calling it “barely working” locums. This category of locums describes those practitioners that agree only to do locums on a limited basis so they can focus on other things such as family or a non-clinical full-time position. Usually, this involves practitioners that only work once per week or up to four times per month. These practitioners focus on other things while keeping a small toe in medicine. They also may elect only to work when they can make the most money, such as last-minute opportunities.
Retirement Locums. Retirement locums is meant for any older practitioner that has retired from full-time practice and is using locums to stay in medicine. Generally, these practitioners will only work a percentage of how much they worked previously so they can enjoy more of retirement.
Private locums. Private locums is meant to describe any practitioner that contracts for independent locums-type work but bills for their services. Practitioners may or may not get paid a stipend for coverage. Some clinicians have clinics to see patients for follow-up; others do not.
Family Locums. This category of locums describes those practitioners that make locums a family affair. When these practitioners travel for locums, they do so with their families. They might even bring the family dog. Many practitioners will stay in apartments or houses to accommodate their families.
Niche locums. Know what you are good at and provide that skill to the facilities. If you are an expert in urologic robotic surgery and the facility does not have someone like you offer to provide those services on a limited basis. If you are an interventional cardiologist, then offer to do those procedures at a place with no cardiologist.
Local Locums. Local locums refers to those practitioners doing locums-type work close enough to sleep in their own bed at the end of the day.
Momma locums. Momma locums describes any practitioner (mom or dad) who schedules their locums work around their children. These are practitioners who elect to spend more time with their children but still find ways to do locums-type work. This might include a limited number of shifts, working only half days, or the night shift to spend more time with their children.
Teams Locums. Sometimes, it will make sense to work with other practitioners to fill staffing shortages. For example, if a facility needs two weeks per month covered, but you only can do one week, then find another practitioner to do the second week; instead of having a locums company staff those two weeks, partner with other practitioners to all contract directly for locums type work. We call this Teams locums.
Destination Locums. There is a category of locums practitioners that pick up shifts based only on the city or state. For example, if you enjoy Chicago in the summers, then find locums-type work around Chicago for the summer months. On the other hand, if you live in Chicago, you could find locums opportunities in Florida during the winter months to spend more time in the sun.
Excursion Locums. Excursion locums is meant to describe those practitioners that do locums-type work on cruise ships and at international resorts. When others are vacationing, cruise ships and resorts still need medical professionals to take care of their customers with medical issues arise. This can be recurring work, like two weeks per month at a Mexico resort or lengthy stays on a cruise ship.
International Locums. Practitioners can take their skills aboard to provide locums-type work in other countries. For example, you could arrange a 6-month locums assignment in Australia.
Moonlighting Locums. Moonlighting locums describes a category of practitioners who do locums purely for additional income. This group of practitioners has full-time positions but do locums in their off-hours to have a secondary source of income. This can include picking up weekends and night shifts when they are not involved with their full-time medical practice.
Downtime Locums. Downtime locums are for those practitioners with full-time roles but take advantage of their sick, holiday, and vacation time to do locums for additional income.
Leisure Locums. Leisure locums is a bit of a misnomer because this category of locums practitioners works very hard to afford more time off for leisure. These folks live and breathe by the mantra, “work to live.” These practitioners do enough locums to afford their travel lifestyle. They might work six weeks straight and then spend six weeks traveling domestically or internationally. After six weeks of traveling, they return to locums to save money for their next trip.
Employed Locums. Being employed for locums-type work is always an option. Some facilities will employ physicians to work in unique locums-type arrangements. Some will offer special arrangements where practitioners get paid 1 FTE and others as a percentage of FTE. For example, a facility may pay a practitioner 1 FTE to work one week on and one week off. Another example is when a facility may pay a practitioner 1/2 FTE for seven days of work per month.
Holiday Locums. Holidays are a great time to enjoy friends and family and take time off work. It is also a great time to do locums work. A collection of practitioners take advantage of the holidays and work them for additional income rather than taking time off to be with family and friends.
Hobby Locums. Most everyone has hobbies. You can find facilities near attractions that align with your hobbies. For example, some practitioners will seek out facilities for locums-type work that are near great locations to hunt and fish.
Dating locums. Do you enjoy dating apps and socializing with new people? You never know whom you will meet while doing locums. You meet many people doing locums, and that can be half the fun of living the locums life. Who knows, you might meet your next love doing locums.
Practitioners can get involved in locums in many ways. Hopefully, this list made you take a look at “Locums done Differently.” What is great about contracting directly for locums-type work is that you can create your own schedule. You can work as hard or as little as you want. You can find opportunities that align with your preferred lifestyle. No matter your agenda or career path, you will find a category of locums-type work that aligns with what you are looking to do.