One reason physicians hesitate to work locum tenens is because of the travel. Fortunately, locum tenens travel doesn’t have to be stressful. A good full-service locum tenens agency will have the expertise to make the travel part of the assignment easy and virtually stress-free. Here are four qualities you should expect from your locum tenens agency to eliminate travel stress from your next locums assignment.
1. Deep experience
When it comes to knowing how to make travel stress-free, there’s no substitute for experience. That’s why Weatherby Healthcare has staffed their travel team with professionals who have spent their entire careers in the travel industry.
“We have one goal,” says Gordon Cowley, director of travel. “We want to take the worry and stress out of travel so that when our providers arrive they can deliver quality care.”
Weatherby Healthcare has one of the most experienced travel teams in the locum tenens industry. In 2017 alone, the team:
- Purchased 28,000 flights
- Booked 110,000 hotel nights
- Arranged 130,000 days of car rental service
“We’ve all been in travel for a very, very long time, so we know this business,” says Todd Cortiz, travel manager in the Weatherby Fort Lauderdale office. “We know the things that can go wrong and the things that can make or break an assignment.”
The level of expertise of your agency’s travel team can make a big difference in the quality of the travel experience.
“We have one goal: we want to take the worry and stress out of travel so that when our providers arrive they can deliver quality care.”
– Gordon Cowley, Weatherby Healthcare Director of Travel
2. Attention to detail
One of the biggest sources of frustrations for travelers is having to deal with all the little details. A full-service locum tenens agency should take the worry off your shoulders by paying for as much as possible up front. Prepayment, rather than a post-travel reimbursement process, can dramatically simplify the process for a locum tenens traveler. Just as prepaid airline tickets make check-in and boarding easier, having other services prepaid can be a big time headache saver as well.
Cortiz shares an example: “Our car rentals are prepaid and all you need is a valid driver’s license. You’re fully insured. We even have a secondary policy that covers the deductible in case you’re in an accident.”
Weatherby provides prepayment information to hotels as well. By sending a credit card authorization for the stay in advance, all the traveler has to do is provide a credit card for incidentals when they check in.
In addition, your agency should allow you to earn reward points for your flights, car rentals, and hotels. According to Cortiz, “We have helped many of our providers achieve medallion status just for the sheer number of trips they’ve traveled with us!”
3. A focus on your comfort
How comfortable you are in your new accommodations is important to your peace of mind as well. The place you stay should be more than just functional — it’s your home away from home while on assignment. Don’t be afraid to ask your agency for the things that will help you feel most comfortable. Finding the right accommodations can take a little extra effort, but it can make a big difference.
Cowley describes the process his team goes through: “We search the options that are going to be best for the provider — that are going to meet their needs. For example, if they like to exercise, we find a hotel that has a gym or a pool. If they travel with a dog, we find a location that accepts pets. We want just the right place that fits your needs so you can maintain the routine you had back home.”
Being able to enjoy the comforts of home is critical to your wellbeing, which in turn allows you to provide better care to your patients.
4. Flexibility and resources
It’s inevitable. Life happens. Plans change, flights get cancelled, or someone gets sick. But when you’re a locum tenens physician, you shouldn’t be left on your own to figure it out.
“We never want our providers to feel like they’re alone on their assignment,” Cowley says. “We’re here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, so you can always reach us when an issue arises.”
Your agency should have the flexibility and resources to make changes on the fly when life’s challenges arise. “We come across situations every week where people need to change their flights to get home, whether it’s because of a delay or even a family emergency,” says Cowley. “We recently had one provider who needed to get home earlier than expected because his mother was admitted to the hospital. We were able to change his flight and get him home quickly so he could be with her.”
You should be able to count on 24-hour support from your agency, so if an emergency arises you have the help you need.
Why It Matters
Cowley and his team assert that providing good locum tenens travel service is more than just making their providers comfortable.
“Ultimately, we’re putting our healthcare providers in communities where they need our help,” Cowley says. “That’s what Weatherby Healthcare is all about — providing outstanding patient care to communities.”
When you work locums tenens, your agency has a responsibility get you there quickly, comfortably, and safely so you can provide the highest quality care to your patients after you arrive.
Ready to try locum tenens? Search for locum tenens jobs in your specialty.
If you still have concerns about locum tenens travel, don’t worry — you can also work locum tenens close to home.