• rss
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • linkedin

Locum Tenens

by Patrick C. Alguire, MD, FACP
Senior Vice President, Medical Education

Although not exactly a career alternative in itself, a locum tenens is often an excellent way to begin a career in medicine. Locum tenens is a Latin phrase that literally means "one who 'holds the place,'" and refers to a physician who temporarily carries on the practice of an absent colleague.

A locum tenens may be just the ticket to experience an urban, rural, solo, small group, multispecialty group, or a hospital-associated practice before actually beginning your career. A locum tenens allows you the opportunity to experience "risk free" the lifestyles associated with various geographic locations before deciding upon your ultimate location.

Information on locum tenens opportunities is almost unlimited. Typical resources include classified ads in professional journals, medical magazines, the American Medical Association, and some state medical societies. A quick search of the Internet uncovered dozens of recruiting firms that provide national and local locum tenens placement services.

An important consideration when evaluating locum tenens opportunities is the availability and extent of malpractice insurance. You many find that locum tenens practices provided only basic claims-made malpractice insurance without tail coverage. Of course, this would be totally inadequate for a situation that is, by definition, temporary. A malpractice tail must either be negotiated as part of the locum tenens agreement or purchased separately.

Expect a locum tenens position to pay slightly more than a comparable salaried position in a group practice. This is because you will not be earning any benefits as a locum tenens practitioner, and the salary for the position needs to be high enough to attract qualified physicians.

In summary, a locum tenens may be most appropriate for physicians who have not yet finalized their plans for further specialty training or practice. It provides an ideal opportunity to experience different types of practices in various parts of the country without significant monetary investment. The salary is generally very competitive, but benefits are often lacking and arranging suitable malpractice insurance will be a priority task.

ACP Career Connection's
Job Search Advantage

Search for jobs that suit your internal medicine and/or specialty career path. Register as a Job Seeker for additional benefits.

  • Build, edit and store your Job Seeker Profile
  • Select Early Job Notifier to have job alerts e-mailed to you

Career Advice Videos

Got 3 minutes? Get prepared for your job search with these short videos.

Watch Videos (ACP Members Only)

Related Links

Resident/Fellow Member Benefits: ACP offers Resident/Fellow Membership for internal medicine residents and subspecialty fellows-in-training.

Join ACP: Take advantage of members only benefits by becoming a Resident/Fellow member of ACP today.

Find a Mentor

Find an experienced physician who can answer your questions about internal medicine.

Prescribe Opioids Safely

Prescribe Opioids Safely

Access this FREE online educational program to help you safely prescribe opioids and manage patients with chronic pain. Online CME is available. Find out more.

Volunteer through ACP

ACP recognizes the importance of volunteerism and community service at both the national and local levels as part of its commitment to universal access to health care. View current volunteer opportunities and network with other ACP member volunteers today.

Learn More

Inspire the Next Generation of Medicine

Inspire the Next Generation of Medicine

Contribute to the ACP Education Fund and support our profession and the young minds starting their careers.

Share your love of medicine by making a charitable donation today! All donations are tax-deductible.