Embracing Freedom: Navigating the Journey from Permanent Practice to Locum Tenens


Are you yearning for a change and greater control over your medical career? Transitioning from a permanent position to locum tenens could be the key to unlocking your professional potential and achieving a fulfilling work-life balance.

As a locum tenens clinician, you can escape the confines of routine, embracing an ever-changing landscape of opportunities. Different environments, new challenges, and diverse patient demographics await. With each assignment, you’ll recalibrate, refresh, and reinvigorate your passion for medicine.

But this shift doesn’t come without its considerations. The transition to locum tenens is a journey that requires thoughtful planning, adaptability, and a readiness to dive into unfamiliar territories.

In this article, we explore five tips to make a smooth transition from permanent practice to locum tenens.

1.  Start slow

Transitioning to a locum tenens role doesn’t require a sudden, jarring leap from your permanent position. Instead, you can set your own pace and gradually ease into this new career pathway.

If you’re intrigued by the locum tenens model but are still uncertain about making a complete switch, consider dipping your toes into these waters while maintaining your permanent position.

By taking on locum assignments during your scheduled days off, weekends, or vacations, you can experience the unique opportunities these positions present first-hand without committing fully or abruptly departing from permanent work.

This gradual transition can help you get a feel for locum tenens work and understand how it fits within your lifestyle and professional goals. It’s about balancing stability with exploration, allowing you to sample the advantages of a locum tenens career before fully immersing yourself.


2.  Be flexible

Adopting a flexible and adaptable mindset is crucial to embracing the locum tenens lifestyle.

Firstly, flexibility in scheduling is paramount. One of the core advantages of locum tenens is the ability to control when and where you work. While liberating, it also calls for a certain level of openness to accommodate the varying needs of different healthcare facilities.

Moreover, with each new assignment, you’ll step into fresh environments with their own systems, protocols, and team dynamics. This constant change can be incredibly rewarding. Being open to new ideas, learning different processes, and adapting quickly to changing circumstances is essential.


3.  Update your CV

Keeping your CV current is critical in the fast-paced world of locum tenens. It serves as your professional calling card, providing a snapshot of your skills, experience, and qualifications. This enables consultants and employers to gauge your suitability for specific assignments quickly.

As you review your CV, pay close attention to a few key areas:


  • Recent experiences: Update your work history to include your most recent roles. Highlight your responsibilities and any unique skills you applied or developed.
  • Certifications and licensure: Verify that all licensure and certification details are current and accurate. This crucial information dictates which assignments you’re qualified to take.
  • Specific skills: Make sure your CV reflects your strengths and specialized skills, setting you apart in the competitive locum tenens market.


By ensuring your CV is up-to-date, you’re not only portraying a professional image, but also positioning yourself to seize the best locum tenens opportunities that come your way.


4.  Identify your priorities

The secret to a rewarding locum tenens journey lies in a deep understanding of your professional priorities. This self-awareness shapes your career trajectory, ensuring that each step you take aligns with your aspirations and values.

To start, consider the healthcare settings that resonate with you. Each environment — from the vibrant pulse of metropolitan hospitals, the intimate, community-centric atmosphere of outpatient clinics, or the distinct charm of rural practices — offers different experiences and challenges. Understanding where your strengths and passions can best be applied allows you to find your niche within the diversity of locum tenens work.

You can go a step further and delve into specific clinical scenarios. For example, are there certain medical cases that you find particularly compelling? Do you have a particular affinity toward specific patient demographics? These factors contribute to job satisfaction and position you as a sought-after professional in areas that value your specialized skills and interests.


5.  Think location

Location plays a significant role in your locum tenens experience. Consider where you would like to practice — not only the geographical location but also the community setting.

Are you drawn to bustling cities, quiet suburbs, or rural communities? Keeping an open mind can open doors to a broader range of experiences.

Additionally, consider obtaining multiple state licenses or the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC) credential. These can significantly expand your opportunities, allowing you to practice in multiple states and experience diverse healthcare environments.


Are you ready to start exploring locum tenens work? Contact us today and one of our expert consultants will help you explore your opportunities and start your journey.