How Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities Benefit from Locum Tenens

November 19, 2021

Know the benefits of locum tenens to hospitals and healthcare practitioners.

Freelancing has been growing incredibly popular since the last decade. But the events that unfolded in the year 2020 intensified this growth and has made many employees abandon their full-time roles for freelancing. While freelancing is largely associated with creatives, it can be found in other industries as well, including healthcare.

The advantages of locum tenens

How Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities Benefit from Locum Tenens

    What is Locum Tenens?

    This may come as a surprise to many but it’s true that medical practitioners these days do freelance work. Unlike what you may think, the practice is growing rapidly as more and more practitioners are opting for this flexible work option. In medicine, freelancing is termed “locum tenens”.

    Locum tenens is a Latin word that means “placeholder” or “to hold a place”. In medicine, locum tenens practitioners are brought in to fill in for other permanent healthcare providers when they are away. This practice, though it’s been modified over the years, has been around since the 1970s. 

    But for people outside the industry, it may sound new or strange. Visit to learn more about the history of locum tenens.

    The benefits of locum tenens

    Many healthcare providers are choosing the locum tenens lifestyle because of the flexibility and freedom it allows among other benefits. But individual practitioners aren’t the only ones benefiting from locum tenens. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities also benefit from it, and in this article, we’ll go over some of those benefits.

    1. Employee and Physician Engagement

    Imagine a scenario where a hospital has three general surgeons and one of them passes away, retires, or moves to another hospital. Naturally, the workload of the other two surgeons increases as they have to split the workload between just the two of them now.

    The advantages of locum tenens to physicians

    If this hospital is in a low-population area, this can become a huge problem because on average, it can take as much as 30 months to hire a permanent specialist. 

    So, say the other two surgeons were able to carry this extra workload for about two years, the possibility of them being disengaged or burning out increases significantly. But these two surgeons won’t be the only ones affected; nurses, NPs, PAs, and other staff members could easily be affected too.

    This situation can easily be managed by bringing in a locum tenens practitioner or surgeon. Their presence would help even out the workload and improve employee engagement while a permanent replacement is being sought after. 

    Often, hospitals find the benefits of these temporary staff so profound that they bring in more to further increase employee engagement and decrease burnouts.

    2. Flexibility

    Both practitioners and hospital administrators enjoy flexibility from this approach. For practitioners, they get to decide how, when, and where they work, while administrators can try out new programs with minimal risks. 

    Usually, one of the common challenges many healthcare facilities face when starting a new program is that there isn’t always enough patient load to support it.

    For instance, hospitalist programs have been found to improve the pace at which patients recover and leave the hospital. So, for instance, if a hospital wants to try out a hospitalist program or any other expansion, through locum tenens, they can hire the necessary medical staff for a shorter time frame. Click here to learn more about the benefits of hospitalist programs.

    During this time, these locum tenens providers can aid administrators in evaluating the potential benefits and setbacks without permanently hiring medical staff. With the existence of temporary staffing, healthcare facilities can experiment on different programs with the flexibility to shut them down if they don’t work as planned.

    3. Positive Patient Care

    Perhaps, this is one area where locum tenens has the most important impact. Many healthcare facilities in rural communities are often in desperate need of specialist providers. Through a locum tenens provider, they can get easy access to highly skilled practitioners whom they otherwise would struggle to meet.

    4. Cut Costs

    Hiring a permanent doctor is not always an easy task, especially if they are highly skilled and experienced. These types of doctors receive all kinds of great offers that, allow them the luxury of choosing where or whom to work for. To be able to lock down such valuable talents, hospitals must match those mouth-watering offers.

    Locum tenens benefits to doctors

    But by working with a locum tenens provider, hospitals can gain access to these very skilled doctors with a fraction of the cost.

    5. Recruiting Better Permanent Practitioners

    Aside from improving engagement with existing employees, administrators use locum tenens as a powerful recruitment tool. With locum tenens meaning “place holder” or “stand in”, recruiters can use them to temporarily fill in vacant positions. 

    This takes off a lot of the pressure that comes with hiring a replacement and make out time to find the perfect candidate. In some cases, the locum tenens doctor becomes the right fit.

    For hospitals in rural or remote communities, finding a new practitioner who will be a good long-term fit is very crucial. Therefore, this process should never be rushed. But when healthcare facilities are short-staffed, pressure can mount up quickly on administrators which could lead to hiring the wrong staff.


    One good thing about locum tenens is that it is available for every specialty and in any state. So, regardless of where a medical facility is located or the staff that is lacking, hospitals can benefit from locum tenens providers.

    The advantages of locum tenens to hospitals

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    1 comment

    1. Thank you for sharing about sa Locum tenens po very informative. first time ko marinig ang about dito.