With the majority of U.S. psychiatrists nearing retirement age, and few new graduates entering the specialty, healthcare facilities nationwide are unable to find adequate staff. Unfortunately, this comes at the same time as intensifying demands for adult and child psychiatric services.
Nearly 4,000 areas in the U.S. have been designated as health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) for mental health (defined as areas with more than 30,000 people per psychiatrist).
According to a state breakdown shared by the Kaiser Family Foundation, shortages exist in almost every state. More than 2,700 health professionals are needed to remove these designations.
While state and federal lawmakers hash out ways to address the shortages, locum tenens physicians are in the perfect position to pose prompt and effective solutions. Here are five ways locum tenens psychiatrists can help:
Offer Immediate Relief
Locum tenens physicians are able to hit the ground running. They have the experience and fortitude to come aboard and offer support quickly, wherever it is needed most. Signing up for psychiatry jobs in California, Texas, or other states where staffing gaps abound is often the only way to ensure patients get the mental health care they need.
Share Unique Experience
Many locum tenens physicians possess a wide knowledge base, gained by stepping in at numerous facilities in various locations. They have experienced diverse patient loads, policies and procedures, and they’ve seen firsthand what works best. Wisconsin, Arizona, and other states with rural populations have a high need for psychiatrists, and locum tenens doctors can provide a helping hand, as well as a fresh approach when needed.
Work as much—or as little—as needed
The scheduling flexibility of locum tenens practice offers a win-win situation for both physicians and facilities. Some facilities need short-term, intermittent coverage, while others are searching for longer commitments, possibly on a recurring basis. Physicians can find numerous locum tenens psychiatry jobs in New York and other understaffed areas that mesh well with their own scheduling priorities.
Provide Services Close to Home
Locum tenens psychiatrists can pick up the slack in their own home state, or neighboring states, where they already hold a license and minimal travel is required. Providing services for even a few days at a time, over a long weekend or during a few scheduled days off, can be an enormous help to short-staffed facilities, and also provide extra income for interested physicians.
Go Where Help is Needed
On the flip side, locum tenens psychiatrists who want to travel to new places will have abundant opportunities to provide services in any region they choose. Facilities are searching for psychiatric locum tenens coverage in Florida, Alaska, and almost every state in between.
Interested in making a difference this year? Check out our open locum tenens psychiatry jobs — and find out why Dr. Philip Krick enjoys working locum tenens with us.