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5 Ways Locum Tenens Practice Can Prevent Physician Burnout

Physician burnout

Physician burnoutNearly half of all U.S. physicians (46 percent) have experienced burnout at some point in their career, according to Medscape’s 2015 Physician Lifestyle Report.

Defined as a loss of enthusiasm for work, feelings of cynicism, or a low sense of accomplishment, burnout rates are highest amongst critical care physicians (53 percent) and emergency medicine docs (52 percent), and plague half of all family physicians, internists, and general surgeons.

Dealing with excessive bureaucracy and putting in too many hours at work were the most frequently cited causes of burnout in the Medscape report.

And physicians who feel they don’t have enough time to engage in their favorite pastimes—the top three being spending time with family, traveling, and exercising, according to Medscape—are more likely to feel burned out.

If you are exhausted by constant stress, detached from your patients, or generally cynical, it may be time to make a change. Here are five ways locum tenens opportunities can counteract the most common causes of burnout.

1. Gain control over your schedule.

As a locum tenens provider, you set your own schedule, which alleviates the burnout associated with having to work too many days or weeks in a row without a break. You can have your consultant set up back-to-back assignments when you’re feeling motivated or in need of extra income, or take time off in between assignments to attend to personal commitments or enjoy down time.

2. Focus on your patients.

When you work as a locum tenens physician, your sole responsibility is your patients. The burnout that comes from being bogged down by bureaucratic tasks disappears. Many physicians say they find a renewed love of medicine when they can focus on offering quality patient care and simply leave when their shift is over without worrying about any office politics.

3. Learn something new.

Locum tenens docs frequently step in at new practice settings in different areas surrounded by unfamiliar colleagues. Under these circumstances, two common causes of burnout—boredom and “feeling like a cog in a wheel”— cease to exist. By continually learning new things and working with new people, your days at work are likely to stay interesting and exciting.

4. Pursue outside interests.

Whether you long to be on the beach during the summer, the ski slopes during the winter, or anywhere in between, locum tenens contracts can make it happen. Being deprived of your personal interests, due to scheduling or geographical restraints, can cause feelings of burnout. But locum tenens engagements allow you to be where you want, when you want, while still earning an income.

5. Reduce your overall stress.

Physician burnout comes from stress at work, but different physicians are stressed by different things. The freedom and flexibility afforded by the locum tenens lifestyle allows you to make whatever adjustments you need to renew your career satisfaction.

If you’re ready for a practice alternative that offers unlimited changes of scenery, scheduling autonomy, freedom to focus on patients, and much more, check out our open locum tenens jobs today.

About the author


Lisa Daggett

Lisa Daggett is well-versed on the topic of locum tenens staffing and was a regular contributor to LocumLife, Healthcare Traveler, and Travel Nurse magazines. She served as associate editor of RN Magazine and as an editorial assistant for Business & Health.

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