How To Find a Locums Gig

There are several ways to land a gig. But before you start your search, there are some important questions to ask yourself:
  • How many shifts a month am I looking to work?
  • How long do I want to work? I.e is this something I want to do for a few months, several months, or ongoing?
  • What pay rate am I looking for? Ask around what rate locums docs are getting for your specialty so you know what the range is. This will vary, sometimes significantly, depending on timing, location, how desperate the facility is, etc.
  • How far am I willing to travel? Do I want to stay within driving range, or am I willing to get on a plane? Am I willing to fly to a different state?
  • Do I want to work days or nights? There is often a night shift differential at some sites.
  • How soon do I want to start working locums shifts? Credentialing often takes 2-4 months, so keep this in mind.
  • What kind of setting do I want to practice in? Of course, this varies by specialty. As an example, if you are an EM doc, do you care if you work at a rural critical access hospital with little to no specialty backup? Do you mind working at a busy level 1 trauma? The more flexible you are, the easier it will be to find a gig.
road in city during sunset
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Once you have a better understanding of what you want, you can begin your search. There are a few ways one can go about looking for a locums gig.
  • Ask a friend. This is the best way to find a good locums company to work with. There are several dozen companies out there, and a recommendation from a friend or colleague goes a long way in sorting through all the noise. Ask around if any of your friends or colleagues have done locums and if they recommend any recruiters/companies.
  • Google. Google search ‘Find (insert specialty here) locums’. You will find a plethora of locums companies with their contact information and ability to sometimes see what gigs they have.
  • Join a Facebook group of your specialty. This is often a great resource to ask about locums opportunities or company/recruiter recommendations.
  • Attend an annual conference of your specialty. More than likely, there will be several locums companies exhibiting at the conference and you can walk around and speak to recruiters from various companies about gigs they have.
  • Sign up on a job board. You can search for gigs on various job boards on the internet. Just be prepared for an onslaught of emails, calls, texts once you give a job board your email and phone number. Locums companies pay to have access to these job boards, so anytime a doc signs up, the companies get the doc’s info. Imagine being bombarded by a dozen or more companies every week, all the time. It doesn’t stop. For years. I’d recommend against this if possible.
  • Call the hospital directly. This should work, in theory. But most hospitals don’t want to go through the process of vetting and providing your malpractice (since they have no idea how good you are), and would rather have a locums company do that all for them. However, there are some facilities out there that prefer to work with docs directly on a PRN basis. You would have to speak to the recruiter at the facility and see if you can work PRN with them. In fact, this is how I was hoping to start my locum career, but after making a few dozen dead-end calls, I decided to go another route.
Navigating the locum world can be intimidating in the beginning. It is best to get a hold of friend/colleague who does locums and have them guide you. Also, that’s what this blog is here for! Get out there and get your locum on!

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