Physician survey finds locums work fewer hours, earn more

Making more money while working fewer hours is a life-changing advantage realized by locum tenens physicians, according to a recent survey by Hanover Research, conducted in partnership with CHG Healthcare. The survey included 4,426 permanent-only physicians and locum tenens-only physicians, as well as physicians who worked a combination of the two. Key findings include:

  • Full-time permanent physicians earn on average $113.47 per hour, while locum tenens physicians earn $145.92—a difference of $32.45 per hour.
  • Full-time permanent physicians earn on average $280,830 per year. Their locum tenens counterparts earn an additional $63,900 a year on average, with a mean annual salary of $344,730.

Physician compensation comparison

  • Physicians who work full time at a permanent position typically work more hours than physicians who accept locum tenens positions.
  • Physicians who work at a permanent position are significantly less likely to receive additional compensation for overtime hours.

This greater locum tenens pay translates to a healthy work-life balance and an overall improved quality of life, according to locum tenens providers who work with Weatherby Healthcare:

Healthy work-life balance

work-life balance how to balance medical career with family life

Dr. J. Bradley Hassell, who has been taking psychiatry locum tenens opportunities for the past four years, says locum tenens has made a huge difference in his life. “I used to work 70+ hours each week as a medical director. Sure, I came home every night, but I rarely had real time to spend with my family.

“Now, as a locum tenens doc, I earn the same money in one week as I used to earn in three or four weeks. When I’m home, which is often, I can take my kids to school and to lacrosse practice. I even became an assistant coach for their team. I do miss some things when I’m away, but it’s worth it because I make more money, work fewer hours, and am present for my family. The locum tenens lifestyle turned out to be easier than the life I was living before.”

Higher earnings = financial freedom

Locum Tenens Doctor Lee Green

Dr. Lee Green, who works as a locum tenens hospitalist, realized from the beginning of his career that he could earn more working as a locum tenens provider. “I was born in South Africa, and I plan to move back there, but first I’m using locum tenens as a way to make money and pay back my loans as quickly as possible. I don’t want to be paying back interest for the rest of my life.

“Once the loans are paid off, I can still use locum tenens to work in the U.S. for a few months each year, which will let me afford to spend the rest of my time in South Africa, even if I’m getting paid very little, or nothing at all.”

Improved quality of life

Dr. Demetri Poulis, who accepts locum tenens general surgery contracts, used locum tenens to regain control of his life. “For more than 10 years I was the only surgeon at a hospital in the Outer Banks. I was on call every day. It was always difficult to get a break, and impossible during the summer season.”

When the hospital finally hired locum tenens help, Dr. Poulis saw the advantages to be had with the locum lifestyle. “Now I make good money and still have time to travel and see my family. I work three weeks a month, and take 10 days to myself. I’ve been able to do more in the last two years than in the previous 10,” raves Dr. Poulis. “In fact, before locums, I couldn’t get my blood pressure under control. But now I don’t need any medicine, and I haven’t changed my weight or my diet. The stress was eating away at me and I didn’t realize it.”

If you are interested in learning more about working locum tenens, give Weatherby a call at 954.343.3050 or view today’s job opportunities.

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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  • There are many benefits to Locum Tenens work. How does your company work with and place advance practice nurse practitioners? I’ve been in Advanced practice most on my professional life. I assume laws regulating NP scope of practice differ significantly in various parts the world.

    If you do place advanced practice nurse Practitioners I would like to talk to you regarding different opportunities and restrictions around the globe.


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