TRAVEL + DIVERSITY = WORKING AS A LOCUM
You might have heard the term locum tenens before, and wondered what it means. Is it a type of specialty you’ve never heard before? Or, is it a new medication to treat hypertension. Neither of those happens to be correct. So, let’s discuss what a locum is, and why you may want to focus your early medical career on being one.
FIRST OFF, WHAT DOES LOCUM MEAN?
First things first – what does the term locum doctor actually mean? The word locum comes from the Latin phrase locum tenens, which means “place holder”. A locum is a person who temporarily fulfills the duties of another. A locum doctor is therefore a doctor who covers for another doctor who is on leave.
WHY DO HEALTHCARE COMPANIES USE LOCUMS?
In the healthcare industry, continuity of service is of the utmost importance. However, like any other profession, doctors and physicians still need to take a break once in a while, and like any other human being, can also get sick!
In particular, hospitals use locum doctors to fill gaps in rosters due to planned leave, which can include vacations as well as work-related leave (such as attending conferences), as well as unplanned leave, for instance where a permanent doctor falls ill. Hospitals may also recruit doctors in a locum capacity while they search for permanent staff, or if they are located in remote or rural areas that can find it difficult to attract permanent doctors.
WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT BEING A LOCUM?
The biggest draw card for many locum doctors that take the leap into locum work is the opportunity to travel, which allows them to experience different parts of the country and beyond while continuing to earn money and advance their career. Working as a locum doctor can take you to new places that you otherwise may never have discovered, from exciting cities to remote villages across the country and even overseas.
Working as a locum doctor can help you make the most of flexible work arrangements. You’ll be able to choose when and where you’d like to work, giving you the opportunity to switch between part-time and full-time hours depending on your commitments outside of work, take up an extra shift here and there on top of your permanent job to help you gain experience in different areas, or simply design your own work schedule from the ground up to perfectly suit your lifestyle.
Variety and Experience
When you accept locum placements in new locations and disciplines, you’ll be expanding your professional horizons and gaining exposure to new and exciting areas of work that you may otherwise never have encountered. Many locum doctors end up taking on new challenges that they might not have considered previously, and you’ll definitely develop a fresh perspective on your career by opening yourself up to new experiences and interactions. It’s a great way to ensure that you never get bored at work!
Plus, if you’re considering a permanent change in environment, such as switching between the public and private sector or into a different role within your field, what better way to know for sure that it’s the right move than to try it out on a locum basis first?
As with any profession, the more experience you can gain in different roles and environments, the better for your professional development and potential career options. Working for years on end in the same practice or hospital can get a little stale, and will certainly limit your options for exposure to new areas and opportunities. Locum doctor work, however, will ensure that you’re constantly learning new skills and facing new challenges, while gaining experience in different environments that will be sure to help your career progression.
Of course, any locum doctor role is likely to come with an attractive remuneration package, but locum work in particular can offer incredibly lucrative financial benefits when compared to permanent salaries. As a locum doctor, you’ll be filling in for other doctors often at short notice or in urgent care capacities, and hiring managers will be willing to pay substantial amounts to ensure that gaps are filled as quickly as possible.
WHAT ABOUT THE PAY?
Locum doctors tend to be paid based on either a set hourly rate, or a set daily rate. Hourly rates for locum doctors can be anywhere from $120 to $400 per hour, which makes locum doctors one of the best paying professions in the country. This corresponds to a full-time equivalent salary that can fall anywhere in the range of $250,000 to $750,000 or even more, depending on each doctor’s experience and specializations. The location of the hospital or clinic can also influence the pay rate for its locum doctors – generally speaking, rural and remote hospitals will pay more than those in major cities.
LET’S MAKE YOUR MEDICAL DREAM A REALITY
If you’re ready to live your dream of becoming a physician, then UHSA can make that dream a reality!
UHSA has been producing physicians since 1982! We are the second oldest private medical school in the Caribbean basin. We know what you need to become a world-class physician, and have three programs to get you there.
Traditional MD Program – if you have the premedical requirements in place, then we would welcome you into our traditional MD program.
MD/Masters of Public Health (MPH) Program – if you have an interest in public health, international health, epidemiology, or even just enhancing your credentials when it comes time to apply for residency, then our joint MD/MPH program is right for you.
Premedical Program – Changing careers? Maybe you don’t have the premedical requirements, but have always had a dream of becoming a doctor? Then our premedical program is right for you. Using the same innovative problem-based learning techniques of our traditional MD program, this will give you the skills you need to earn your MD in the shortest time possible.
Contact our Admissions Team today to learn more!