Nicholas Kusnezov, MD, shares what he’s learned in his years of experience as a locum tenens physician on how to find the right housing for your assignment.
So, you’ve landed the perfect assignment. The pay is good, you have your ideal schedule, and your assignment is in a location you’re excited to work in. But don’t forget one of the most important and often overlooked parts of a locums assignment that’s important to prepare for in advance: housing.
For me, the most important factors when selecting locum tenens housing are:
- Proximity to the facility
- Proximity to other locations such as points of interest, restaurants, outdoor recreation
- Quality of the housing
- Amenities such as an on-site gym or spa
- Accommodations where you can earn loyalty points
Here are my thoughts on why each of these factors is important.
1. Find accommodations relatively near your worksite
Within reason, I often try to pick an accommodation that is close to the hospital. This minimizes transit times and maximizes comfort and convenience. This is particularly important if you are getting called back to the hospital frequently. The last thing you want to do is spend an inordinate amount of time commuting between your lodging and the hospital, which wastes not only time, but gas and mileage.
Occasionally, hospitals or neighboring hotels are in less-than-ideal parts of town. I recommend running your accommodation preferences by both your locums agency’s housing department and your hospital contact. They’ve gotten feedback from previous providers and are familiar with the area in general and can give valuable insight into the location’s housing. Sometimes the housing is close to the hospital but may be difficult or cumbersome to reach. On one assignment, my housing was continually surrounded by construction, so it was a pain getting there. Basically, be sure to do your research.
2. Consider proximity to points of interest, restaurants, recreation
Another often overlooked consideration is the proximity not just to the hospital but to other key locations such as local gyms, restaurants, and other points of interest. You will often have downtime, especially if you are taking on a strictly on-call assignment. An important aspect of locums is enjoying yourself, traveling, and exploring.
3. Make sure you’re staying in quality lodging
You want your assignment as a whole to be comfortable. That means you want to stay in high-quality accommodations. In my experience, locums agencies want you to be as comfortable and satisfied as possible. Even so, it’s important to voice your preferences.
The company or hospital may often find the closest or most convenient location, but it may not be the most comfortable. I would recommend speaking with your travel accommodations agent ahead of time and let them know where you’d prefer to stay. Typically, you’re not the first locum to work at that site, and the agency will have an idea of which hotels are preferred based on locum feedback from past assignments.
4. Good amenities can substantially improve your trip
This includes everything from a hotel gym to free wireless and cable to breakfast. Fitness is an important aspect of my life and having a hotel gym is important to optimize my downtime. Additionally, if your family comes with you, they would certainly enjoy a nice hotel breakfast, movies, and time at the pool.
5. Take advantage of housing rewards programs
Lastly, especially if you travel frequently, it would benefit you to maximize any sort of rewards from either flights or lodging. Many hotels have honors or rewards programs. For instance, I like to stay at Hilton hotels so that I accrue bonus points. Even if the hotel is covered or reimbursed by locums agencies, you are still able to accrue points under your account for future stays. This affords me rewards and free hotel stays beyond simply locum assignments.