Healthcare Admins: Do You Know What Motivates Your Locums?

It used to be that locum tenens physicians did not get much respect. Healthcare facilities viewed them as doctors who only worked as locums because they were incapable of holding full-time jobs or running private practices. Needless to say that those perceptions were not true. Still, times have changed. Locums are now respected members of the healthcare community whose contributions do not go unnoticed. Their motivations have also changed.

As a healthcare administrator, do you know what motivates your locum providers? You should. What motivates them ultimately impacts your ability to recruit. The more you know about locum tenens providers and what makes them tick, the more successful you will be in filling your staffing holes with the best possible candidates.

Doctors Have Their Reasons

Vista Staffing, the company behind the Vista Select healthcare staffing vendor management system, explains that doctors have their reasons for pursuing locum work. Vista recruiters know what they are talking about. They have been matching locums with healthcare facilities for years.

One of the most common motivations Vista recruiters observe is a desire to bring in some extra income. Doctors are no different than any other workers in the sense that they look to part-time work to supplement their incomes. A few weekend shifts here and there really make a difference. The extra money comes in handy for paying down student loans, buying that first house, etc.

Here are a few of the things that motivate locums:

  • Career Guidance – A new doctor who does not know what she wants to do for her entire career might turn to locum tenens as a way of figuring out.

  • Wanting a Change – Doctors have been known to take locum tenens assignments simply because they want a change. They need to shake things. They need to get out of a rut.

  • Work Flexibility – Doctors sometimes choose locum work because they want the flexibility. They are willing to live with the uncertainties of full-time locum tenens in exchange for having the freedom to work as they please.

There are other things that motivate locums. The point to understand here is that you cannot fit every locum into a single mold. That is why it is important to understand motivations when you are trying to recruit. Simply put, not every locum is going to be a good fit for your job.

Hiring a Good Fit

There is a temptation among healthcare administrators to hire the first candidate that comes along just to fill an open position. Doing so is not a good way to hire. It doesn’t work for locum tenens physicians; it doesn’t work for permanent hires either. Administrators are better off holding out until they can hire someone they believe is a good fit.

Finding a good fit is one of the advantages of working with a staffing agency. If that agency utilizes a vendor management system, that’s even better. A well-designed system can help vet candidates so that administrators are only presented with those who appear to be a good fit.

For the record, a good recruiter works toward the same goal. He or she looks for candidates that fit well with the hiring facility’s culture. He/she seeks to match locum physicians and healthcare facilities who are more than capable of working together for a mutually beneficial outcome.

Locum tenens staffing is here to stay. Nearly every major healthcare facility in the country utilizes locum tenens to one degree or another, so that’s that. As an administrator, you probably deal with the locum tenens issue quite frequently. Do you know what motivates your locums?