Where Do All of The Locum Tenens Jobs Come From? Are They Real or Imagined?

August 22, 2014 Photos of a stethoscope, laptop, smartphone, and medical professional.

As a physician actively working as a locum tenens, or new to locum tenens investigating locum tenens jobs, have you ever wondered why you get calls and emails from multiple agencies about the same jobs?

Five years ago, you received emails from multiple agencies because when a hospital or practice had a locum tenens job to fill, they would contact several agencies and see who came up with the best candidate with the best rate. Today, that is still what occurs in a general sense, however, there is one major difference. Some hospital systems have gone to a Vendor Management System (VMS) or Managed Service Provider (MSP) model.

In these models, as many as 50 different agencies all bid on the same job with you—and likely several other physicians—as their candidate. Some of the for-profit hospital chains are notorious for putting a job out to the masses just to see who jumps into the net when they may not truly have a locum need.

Often times they will try to use this system as a tool to find a permanent physician for the opening. It’s at no cost to the hospital since they don’t pay any fees until you show up. So, from their perspective, why not?

For the most part, very few details regarding the hospital, practice, and scope of work to be performed are provided for many of these jobs. Generally, all the information you can expect to receive is the work hours, call frequency and pay rate.

But, it’s not all bad.

Many agencies have a fairly extensive client roster outside of the VMS models where they have relationships in place. If a recruiter asks the right questions, relative to your specialty, they can get the answers you need. You will likely get better information about the details of these jobs but you are at the mercy of the agency to sort out the details as best they can with their understanding of the nuances of your specialty.

Agencies work on volume, and often times, to the recruiter, the details of what goes on in a hospital or practice is an after thought.  With as many as 150 agencies in the space, each agency is in a race to offer up a “candidate bid” before their competitor does.

So, yes, there are a plethora of locum jobs posted on the internet-both real and imagined. Just be sure you don’t hold out for a locum job that will never come around and don’t spend a lot of time jumping through the credentialing hoops for no reason. Also, a really good locum tenens recruiter who shoots you straight about the jobs he or she has to offer you will go a long way.

If you’re a locum tenens physician looking for a position, check out what MedLink has available.