Will a Locum Tenens Psychiatrist Benefit Your Facility?
Finding the right psychiatrist to join your hospital or clinic permanently can be challenging, and while you’re searching for the best person for your health care facility, you’ll still have patients that require psychiatric care. Therefore, consider the benefits of a hiring a locum tenens psychiatrist. The term “locum tenens” is a Latin phrase that means, “to hold the place of or stand in for another.” Locum tenens psychiatrists are credentialed and licensed. Many of them are even board certified.
Benefits of Hiring a Locum Tenens Psychiatrist
By hiring a locum tenens psychiatrist, your facility’s patients will be taken care of while you take the time that you need to hire a permanent psychiatrist. You may also consider hiring a locum tenens psychiatrist when one of your permanent staff members suffers from an extended illness, requires a sabbatical or takes a long vacation. With temporary help, you can maintain steady patient care and keep your current revenue streams stable.
A locum tenens psychiatrist can also help you meet an increase in patient demand for the specialty. You may also consider hiring one during emergencies. Some hospitals and clinics use locum tenens health professionals to test the popularity of a new service or specialty.
The Industry’s Beginnings
The locum tenens industry started approximately 40 years ago during the early 1970s. The University of Utah obtained a grant from the federal government to staff health clinics in rural areas of the western United States due to a lack of available medical professionals in distant locales. The program was successful, and today, hospitals and medical facilities are taking advantage of the staffing option.
Tips for Hiring a Locum Tenens Psychiatrist
Hiring a locum tenens psychiatrist can be as easy as making a phone call to a staffing agency and telling them that you require a psychiatrist for several weeks or months during a specified time of the year. However, to obtain the best temporary psychiatric professional, consider:
• Working with a locum tenens agency
• Planning for the added assistance as far in advance as possible
• Discussing your facility’s needs with other staff members such as your general practitioners, nurses and researchers to request an expert with specific job skills or personality traits
• Listing the details of your facility’s patient volume and how busy the person who steps into the position is going to be as well as the type of cases he or she will be expected to oversee
Working with a Locum Tenens Agency
If you decide to go through an agency to hire a locum tenens psychiatrist, then you’ll be paying a specialty company to connect you with the perfect practitioner. You’ll need to inform the agency about the kind of doctor that you need and when you require his or her services. Also, be sure to tell the locum tenens organization about your medical facility’s work environment. For instance, confirm whether your facility features a formal or casual atmosphere. Today, some medical organizations require their staff members to wear dress clothes while other facilities prefer that their people work in casual attire and address each other by their first names. The locum tenens agency will also be able to find you a better match if they know how your permanent employees interact with each other. For instance, does your medical team spend time with one another outside of work? Or, are they strictly work colleagues? If your employees tend to engage in office politics or offer to support each other, then inform the agency of this work dynamic.
When you intend to hire a locum tenens psychiatrist for more than a week or two, be sure to tell the agency about your facility’s locale. For instance, you should mention the enjoyable features of your area such as outdoor activities, unique cultural sites or interesting historical structures. The information may attract highly experienced psychiatrists to your facility as they’ll enjoy their free time in your location.
Planning in Advance
You’ll have a better chance of getting a psychiatrist with the qualifications that your facility needs by planning. For instance, if your facility will be best served by a practitioner who has worked with people who have emotional disorders, then make your request with an agency as soon as possible to give the company enough time to locate a specialist with your needed qualifications. You can also request a psychiatrist who has supervision experience or a reputation for working well with others. It may take longer for a specific request to be filled, but you’ll have a better chance of receiving someone who complements your organization.
Discuss Your Facility Needs with Other Staff Members
Keep in mind that your facility’s other medical professionals can help you determine the qualifications and personality traits that your medical organization needs in a locum tenens psychiatrist. They can also provide insights as to why some types of psychiatrists are better for your facility than others. Consider talking to your staff after they have worked with a locum tenens psychiatrist to collect data for future requests. For instance, if you hear positive feedback about a practitioner, then try to discover what made that person ideal for your facility. Alternatively, if your staff members struggled to work with the person, then find out what they didn’t like about him or her.
Patient Volume and Specialties
Before hiring a locum tenens psychiatrist, make sure that he or she can handle the amount of volume that your health facility typically experiences. Keep in mind that one locum tenens psychiatrist may be able to handle the care of 30 patients in one day while another practitioner may only be able to manage 10 or 12 each day. Location is another factor since some psychiatrists are more comfortable working in metropolitan areas where they have immediate access to emergency medical personnel as opposed to rural locales with emergency services that are hundreds of miles away in another facility.
You should feel comfortable hiring a locum tenens psychiatrist as long as the practitioner has the proper training, is credentialed and holds the required level of malpractice insurance. Keep in mind that you can investigate the employment and educational past of psychiatrists you’re considering welcoming into your medical facility.
For Psychiatrists looking to provide coverage – Will a Locum Tenens Psychiatric Job Benefit You?
If you decide to work as a locum tenens psychiatrist, then you’ll be employed in a medical facility temporarily. In most cases, you’ll fill in at the organization until the company is able to find a permanent staff member. Some medical facilities hire a locum tenens psychiatrist when their permanent practitioner is on an extended vacation, hurt or ill.
The Country’s Need for Psychiatrists
According to reports, the country’s need for psychiatrists is growing due to an overall decline in the number of people choosing the field as their medical specialty. An estimated 55 percent of today’s psychiatrists are 55 years old or older. In other medical fields, the percentage of older practitioners is around 33 percent. Psychiatrists are beginning to retire, which is also creating a shortage.
Why You Should Consider Working as a Locum Tenens Psychiatrist
Since the employment option will permit you to work temporarily in different locales, you’ll have the chance to assess an area before you decide to live there permanently. You can also put your education, training and experience to good use without worrying about the office politics that frequently accompanies permanent jobs.
You may consider taking locum tenens positions to learn new skills and technologies. You can also avoid dealing with many of the job’s administrative requirements. Today, when you begin working in a facility on a temporary basis, the organization’s current staff will likely accept and recognize you as an equal colleague since more facilities are beginning to use the staffing option.
According to a recent survey, locum tenens practitioners reported that they found the work option to be as satisfying as or more satisfying than permanent employment. The employment opportunity also offers salary benefits as you’ll receive a daily pay rate from the locum tenens agency. Therefore, you can avoid dealing with third party payers and the hassle of making sure that you are paid for your time. The work option also lets you see patients based on your preferences instead of being tied to work targets. You can also avoid many of the Medicare and job related policies that oversee most medical facilities. Many temporary positions will let you set the hours that you work, and you may receive the option of working overtime hours.
Psychiatrists who work as a locum tenens practitioner have the option of negotiating their salary for each position that they take. In fact, you may even be able to negotiate up to 25 percent more than the initial offer. Once you’ve proven your abilities to a particular facility, they will likely request your services again, and keep in mind that longer assignments generally pay more.
Benefits of Working through a Locum Tenens Placement Agency
When you work with an agency, the company will help you obtain licensing in other states. In addition, since you’ll be contracting through the company, they will likely arrange for your travel and accommodations. Some agencies can even help you acquire malpractice insurance to cover you in the state where you’ll be providing service.
By choosing to work through an agency, you’ll likely have additional work options because the company will have more contacts. However, you are not obligated to take assignments. Instead, you’ll have the opportunity to select a position that offers you a preferred location or the chance to learn new skills. Once you sign up with an agency, make sure that the company can reach you quickly because many positions need to be filled fast, and some medical organizations will contact several agencies to fill one job.
The process of becoming a locum tenens psychiatrist is simple as you just need to contact the agency online or by phone. You’ll then fill out the company’s required documents, and the organization will likely assign you to a recruiter who will contact medical facilities on your behalf. Once a medical organization becomes interested in your services, the facility’s hiring specialist will call you for a phone interview. Be sure to ask questions about the medical center’s work environment and locale. Some psychiatrists choose to navigate the locum tenens industry without working with a company, but a specialized agency will streamline the process for you.
After you begin working as a locum tenens psychiatrist, you may find that you’re making more money than you were in your last permanent position. You may also have the opportunity to work a schedule that gives you time off to explore the area and fully experience different parts of the country. However, if you have a family and close friends, then you will most likely sacrifice time with them while you are working locum tenens positions. Also, speak to your personal referrers when you decide to begin working temporary psychiatric jobs as they’ll probably receive multiple phone calls from medical organizations and the locum tenens agency to verify your experience.
Tips for Choosing a Position
To obtain the best locum tenens jobs, look for organizations that are in need of temporary help due to:
• Growth of the hospital or medical facility
• Being in a rural location as psychiatrists may not want to work in the area permanently
• A leave of absence by a permanent staff member
The line of work features several red flags, which include:
• A medical director who won’t discuss the position with you before you commit to the job
• Confirmation that the last person who held the job was fired for negligence or incompetence
• Evidence that the psychiatrist you’re covering for is taking time off after suffering from a nervous breakdown
• Reports of staffing strikes at the hospital during the last six months
Final Considerations for Providers
You may consider working as a locum tenens psychiatrist during any stage of your career. The option is ideal for practitioners who are just starting their career as well as for those who are fully established in their practice. Retirees will even benefit by working as a locum tenens psychiatrist as the employment option can help them earn extra spending money. The temporary work opportunity will give you the freedom to work when and where you want.
Here are some other helpful locum tenens resouces: