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4 Times Locum Tenens Are Needed The Most

Hiring locum tenens can do more than improve your bottom line. They can become a lifeline in some very common situations faced by healthcare facilities – reducing clinician stress and improving your ability to deliver quality, timely patient care.


Every facility’s needs are different, but there are many common issues that drive up locum tenens demand. Have you experienced any of these events in your facility?


1. Staffing Shortages


It’s no surprise locum tenens demand increases during staffing shortages.


Many staffing shortages are temporary. A permanent hiring decision right now may not be fiscally responsible, but patients, employees, and revenues suffer if you wait until it’s urgent.


Staffing shortages can happen for all kinds of reasons:

  • Medical leave – One or more clinicians went on medical and family leave at once. You may only need extra help for a few weeks.
  • Festival or seasonal tourism – A community event draws in crowds for a week each year.
  • Viral outbreak – Seasonal illness increases demand. A virus doesn’t have to be COVID-19 pandemic level to take a toll on a medical center with limited resources.
  • A hot summer – Heat-related school sports and community worker emergencies can fill your emergency room fast.
  • Having to let someone go –  Firing one or more employees leaves a gap in your coverage, requiring the rest of your staff to pick up the slack.
  • New regulations increasing clinician paperwork- Locum tenens allows facilities to adapt to the ever-changing demands of the healthcare market.

During these surges in demand, locum tenens clinicians become a lifeline, while maintaining sanity for you and your staff and care for your patients. Being able to anticipate these changes allows facilities to bring on additional locums clinicians earlier to deal with any increases in demand rather than letting the situation get out of hand.


2. Trouble Hiring and Retaining


Areas with a lower population often have a smaller talent pool and have a harder time finding people to fill vacancies. It takes longer to hire and you’re limited to people within commuting distance. This creates added stress on those already with you. As a result, everyone may be asked to do more, which can increase the likelihood of clinician burnout. It becomes a vicious cycle of stress and low morale.


Hiring campaigns can be expensive and time-intensive. If you’re currently trying to hire into this vicious cycle, you could be losing people to burnout faster than you can replace them.


In these situations, a locum tenens agency can be a lifesaver. Locum tenens clinicians can stabilize the situation like duct tape on a leaky pipe by filling in when and where you need them. This can give you the flexibility to focus on longer-term solutions for increasing morale, eliminating overwork, reducing burnout, and retaining the employees you hire.


3. Growing Community


In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, higher home prices, and flexible work, many communities have experienced an influx of people moving out of cities and into

more affordable rural and suburban towns.


It’s amazing to see new life, taxpayers, and families moving into the area. But at the same time, this can put a strain on infrastructures like schools, transportation, and healthcare if they are unprepared. People can move in so much faster than the infrastructure can grow to support them.


Locum tenens can be vital for maintaining the infrastructure in these communities. Clinicians can support the existing community healthcare system quickly, to help healthcare facilities stay afloat amidst increased demand. This gives hospital administrators the breathing room they need to assess longer-term plans to hire more permanently.


In these cases, short term locum tenens can also be utilized in a “temp-to-hire” capacity, if both parties feel like it’s a good match.

4. Clinicians Afraid to Take Vacations


When people joke about being afraid to take vacations, you should take that seriously. Having fewer available clinicians makes it harder for staff to secure the time off that they need for mental/physical health and their families.


They don’t want to leave others understaffed or have to work double-time to catch up after they get back. And what if you only have one cardiologist or obstetrician? They never feel they can take time off.


Locum tenens agencies are a valuable tool here, because they make more flexible work scheduling possible. You can arrange for these clinicians to come in to fill the gap and they only need to stay as long as you need them.


Whether you need someone part-time or full-time, they provide the skilled assistance clinicians need to enjoy their vacations without interruption.


Locum Tenens Demand on the Rise


More community health systems are realizing they have viable options during scenarios like these. As they do, demand for locum tenens goes up. You don’t have to compromise patient care, overwork clinicians, or have people afraid to take a much-needed vacation, so the advantages are clear. If your facility has experienced any of these issues, it’s well worth considering locum tenens.

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