Psychiatry is one area of medicine in which the locum tenens model has been slow to gain momentum. There could be any number of reasons, including the highly personal nature of the psychiatric discipline. Nonetheless, there is a considerable demand for locum psychiatrists. Is locum work a good fit for you?
Within the psychiatric specialty there are always those doctors who are asking themselves if it’s time to change things up. Psychiatry can be a rather taxing profession; doing something new can extend the career of a doctor who would otherwise retire. That something new for a growing number of doctors is locum tenens work.
Again, is locum work right for you? Ask yourself the below questions and carefully consider the answers. You might be surprised what you discover.
Is my daily routine becoming mundane?
Seeing the same patients over longs periods of time is very common in psychiatry. Unfortunately, it is a formula for creating a mundane practice after many years on the job. Transitioning to locum work is the answer for some doctors. Locum psychiatry does not become mundane so easily because assignments change. With each new assignment comes new patients, a new work environment, and a different geographic location.
Am I tired of owning my own practice?
Being a private practice owner means running a business in addition to offering medical care. Sometimes, doctors just want to get out of the business of medicine so they can get back to practicing it. One option is to close the practice and take a permanent position as an employee. Another option is to go locum.
As a locum psychiatrist, the doctor is still self-employed for tax purposes. But the business side of locum work is minimal. A doctor only needs a good accountant and solid relationships with a few staffing agencies to find success. The doctor practices medicine while accountants and agencies handle the business.
Am I nearing retirement?
Retirement can start looking pretty good after decades of practice. You might be approaching retirement yourself. Whether it is one year away or five, transitioning into locum tenens psychiatry is a wonderful way to retire gradually rather than just waking up one day and being done.
Some doctors who phase into retirement via locum work start out taking assignments that offer a full schedule. They then gradually reduce the hours they work and the length of the assignments they take until they finally decide to stop working altogether. Still others find locum work so rewarding that they never fully retire. They take one or two light-duty assignments per year just to stay in the game.
Am I struggling to find my place?
Not all locum psychiatrists are veterans with decades of practice behind them. Some are newer doctors who just seem to be struggling to find their place in psychiatry. If that sounds like you, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Having a degree and completing a residency does not guarantee that a new doctor knows exactly what he or she wants to do right away. Sometimes it takes a while to find a place.
Locum tenens work is a great option for doctors in such a position. It exposes the doctor to different kinds of psychiatry jobs in different parts of the country. It gives new doctors a better idea of what they can expect as they build their careers. In short, locum work is a good way to help the new doctor find his or her place
So, is locum psychiatry right for you? Only you can answer that. Hopefully these questions helped.