The Pros and Cons of Locum Tenens Physicians for Your Health and Medical Business

Updated on August 27, 2023
The Pros and Cons of Locum Tenens Physicians for Your Health and Medical Business copy

The demand for locum tenens physicians is on the rise with no sign of slowing down. In fact, the number of doctors who work as “freelance” employees has more than doubled in the last 15 years. Some predictions see the number doubling again in the next decade. 

If you’ve wondered if hiring a locum tenens physician is right for your medical business, there are some things to consider. Take a look at some of the pros and cons of going with a locum tenens employee:

Pros of Hiring Locum Tenens Physicians

Let’s start by taking a look at some of the pros of hiring a locum tenens physician for your medical facility. Many of these benefits make it well worth the risk that companies face when deciding to go this route:

Maintain Top-Quality Patient Care

Labor shortages are sure to occur at some time or another. You might have a regularly employed physician that has to take a leave of absence or a maternity break. When these shortages occur, the level of patient care that you’re able to offer is compromised. And your patients will notice it. 

By employing locum tenens physicians, you’ll ensure that you’re still able to provide high-quality to care to each of your patients. With their help, you can also make certain that your team is well-equipped to handle their workload. 

Locum tenens employees work to support regular staff. They do this by both by taking care of patients, helping to manage their weight with products and relieving regular staff of administrative tasks that bog them down. Their ability to step in and assist an understaffed team makes them a great asset. 

You’ll Save Money

Locum Tenens physicians are a cost-effective option for lots of healthcare organizations. Since they’re temporary workers, you aren’t under any obligation to pay them full-time salaries or benefit packages.

If you’ve ever hired a full-time, permanent physician before, you know how expensive it can be. Hiring locum tenens employees for a temporary term will save your business a lot of money over time. 

Test Out Candidates Before Offering a Full-Time Position

The hiring process can be a long, stressful, and can be a hit-and-miss process. When you work with locum tenens employees, it gives you the chance to try them out first to see if they’ll make a good employee. Then if they don’t work out, you can let them go their way after the end of their temporary contract instead of going through a firing process. 

If you decide that a full-time role is something you’d like to offer, the locum tenens employee will have a smooth transition since they’ve already become intermeshed with your team. 

Learn more about the benefits of hiring a locum tenens physician for your company. 

Cons of Hiring a Locum Tenens Employee

Now that you’re aware of some of the pros of hiring a locum tenens employee, take the time to consider some of the possible cons:

A Locum Tenens Employee Might Not Try to Adapt

When you take on a locum tenens physician, you run the risk that they might not be very motivated to try to integrate themselves into your company culture and become part of the team.

Because these positions are often temporary, the locum tenens employee often isn’t emotionally invested. This might be reflected in their dedication, both to patients as well as other team members.

There’s the possibility that they will just see a position with you as one of many, and something to fill their time until they move on to a position elsewhere. This attitude can be hard on dedicated physicians as well as patients who are sensitive to noticing if their physician is fully invested. 

They Might Have a Change of Heart

There have been instances in which a locum tenens physician was found that was competent and eager to take on a position only to have a change of heart and back out of the position without much warning. This puts a lot of strain on a medical organization that then has to scramble to find competent staffing to cover shifts and care for patients. 

Of course, this can happen at any time regardless of whether or not the employee is locum tenens or not. Regular employees have backed out or quit without much notice as well. It’s part of the game for managers and owners of medical practices. 

You Might Get Attached Only to Be Turned Down

Another possible con to going with a locum tenens physician is that you run the risk of loving a particular doctor only to have them turn you down for a full-time position. There are many great locum tenens candidates out there that really throw themselves into each assignment. When they leave, there are often many patients and staff members that have a hard time adjusting to their absence. 

The hope is that you’ll find the perfect locum tenens physician that works well with everyone and is happy to accept a full-time position when the time is right. 

Find Other Helpful Advice for Running Your Medical Business

Now that you’re aware of some of the pros and cons of hiring a locum tenens employee, you can make an informed decision about choosing them for your medical business. 

Be sure to check out our various other articles for growing your medical business. You’ll find helpful information for engaging patients, marketing your services, and developing your skills as a leader in the industry. 

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The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.