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Even with the adoption of telemedicine during the pandemic, locum tenens physicians are finding ways to reduce the stress on a burdened industry.
The shortage of healthcare workers has been a long-standing issue that was further emphasized by the Covid-19 pandemic that put a greater toll on the lives of medical professionals. As a result, many physicians have suffered from extreme stress and burnout; resignations of full-time physicians caused some clinics to close down and some local hospitals put their workers on longer shifts with increased patient counts.
Health departments and hospitals have been looking for solutions to this staffing issue. One solution may be found with locum tenens physicians.
For many years, professionals from the medical field have been used to following the traditional practice where a physician takes a permanent, full-time job in a facility or starts their own clinic. For many this is a great option; however, while there is nothing wrong with that, locum tenens offers many benefits that are often overlooked.
For the physicians who work it, locum tenens provides far more freedom and flexibility than is found in traditional employment in a clinic or hospital. You can work on a schedule that best fits you. With that, you also have time to focus on your passions outside of medicine while still being able to practice your profession. With its flexible patient schedule and the right working hours, you can give more time and energy to your patients. You will be able to educate them and provide more attention to each one. For many physicians, this is a great option to alleviate stress and enjoy medicine more.
For facilities and physicians still working in traditional roles, locum tenens doctors can still provide a great benefit. Locum tenens can be assigned shifts in hospitals to allow the regular physicians to take longer breaks or lesser shifts. They can also work in hospitals or clinics that are short-staffed. The more these facilities value and maximize locum tenens doctors, the better balance they can achieve in their medical workforce.
In addition, with the advent of telemedicine becoming more of the norm and more locum tenens telemedicine jobs on the rise, there are more opportunities to serve our patients even from a distance. According to Doximity, a study was done that found “that that 20% of all medical visits will be conducted via telemedicine in 2020, which accounts for more than $29.3 billion of medical services this year alone.”
So, what can we glean from this?
Overworked doctors can be relieved by locum physicians who can take their place. Even if it is just a temporary fix, bringing in locum tenens allows facilities to give their existing staff a break and spread the work around.
Since regular physicians can have that much needed break, they are more re-energized and revamped when getting back to work. They will have more time to focus on their own passions and spend time with their families without getting too drained at work. Physician well-being is a vital priority to maintain.
Having locum doctors will give regular physicians more time to take breaks and care for themselves. They won’t be as overworked as before, resulting in less chances of these doctors resigning, or burning out.
Physicians have been at the forefront in this battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. They have been taking care of a seemingly endless tream of patients. It's about time they're being taken care of. Locum doctors can definitely make an impact on the medical workforce in hospitals and clinics. With proper management, more and more physicians will finally achieve the balance between their profession and passion despite the demands of the pandemic.
About the Author
Colin Zhu, DO, is a traveling physician who is board certified in family practice/OMT and lifestyle medicine. He has practiced as a CompHealth locum tenens physician for the past four years. Zhu is an international speaker and the author of "Thrive Medicine: How To Cultivate Your Desires and Elevate Your Life” and podcast host of Thrive Bites in which he interviews the latest health and wellness experts about incorporating a plant-powered lifestyle, enhancing emotional wellness, and creating a thriving mindset.