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How to find a locum tenens assignment.

Finding your first locum tenens assignment is a fairly simple process, but knowing what to expect and planning ahead can make a big difference in how successful you are.

Understanding the steps of the process can help you move through it quickly and effectively. Our goal at Weatherby Healthcare isn't just to find you a locums assignment; we want to find you the right assignment so you can have a great experience every time.

Whether you work with Weatherby or another locum tenens agency, be sure to  choose an agency  that has the resources you need to support you in finding and completing your assignments.

A quality locums agency should offer enough job opportunities to give you:

  • Your pick of assignments

  • The flexibility to work as much or as little as you want

It's also important to find a recruiter or consultant:

  • You feel comfortable working with

  • You're confident you can build a long-term relationship with

  • Who will understand your needs and put your best interests first

Pro tip: Proactively set communication preferences and expectations. Let your consultant or recruiter know how often you want to be contacted, your preferred communication method (text, email, or phone), and the best time of day to reach you.

Before you start reviewing job opportunities, be sure to schedule time for a "getting to know you" call with your new consultant. It can be one call of 30 minutes or longer or take place through several shorter conversations — whichever is best for you.

This discovery time is an investment that will pay long-term dividends. The better your consultant understands you, your needs, and what you're looking for in an assignment, the more likely they'll be able to provide you with attractive job opportunities.

What to ask your consultant

Take advantage of these conversations to learn more about:

  • How locum tenens actually works

  • How the agency will support you with credentialing, privileging, and licensing

  • How travel and housing work

  • What malpractice coverage the agency provides

  • How to report your time and submit reimbursements

  • What the pay schedule is

  • What types of opportunities are available in your specialty/subspecialty

  • How the credentialing process works

What your consultant wants to learn about you

The more your consultant knows about you, the more likely they will be able to accurately match you up with the right kind of jobs. It's a good idea to send your CV in advance. Here's what your consultant will want to learn about you:

  • Your clinical experience, especially over the past 24 months

    • Procedures you have performed

    • Specialties you have functioned in

    • Current certifications

    • Current licenses

    • Claims (if any)

  • Your preferences, wants, and interests

    • How often you want to work

    • What your availability will be over the next few months

    • What type of facilities you prefer (e.g. rural clinic, large metro hospital, small community hospital)

    • How much you want to make

    • What hours, shifts, and conditions you prefer

    • Places you are interested in visiting

    • Family ties and relationships and how they may influence your plans

    • Hobbies and lifestyle

Pro tip: Don't hesitate to share personal information. The better your consultant knows you and what you're looking for, the better they'll be able to provide you with opportunities that match your preferences. A consultant is most effective when they are truly your representative and advocate.

As soon as your consultant has enough information to start matching you with jobs, they'll actively begin looking for opportunities that meet your requirements. Once they find a good match, they'll contact you to share the details.

Even if your preferred method of communication is text or email, it's best to have a phone conversation now so you can ask questions and get answers without the delay of email or text. The best jobs often open and close quickly, so too long of a delay can result in a missed opportunity.

What to look for in a locum tenens job opportunity

  • What does the job pay?

  • What are the typical job duties?

  • What will the clinical responsibilities be?

  • What is the patient volume?

  • What is the work schedule/shifts?

Pro tip: If you're not seeing the info you want, be sure to ask your consultant. Some job descriptions provide every detail, while others only provide the highlights. Your consultant can help you get the information you need to properly evaluate an opportunity.

Make it a priority to complete the agency's online application as soon as possible. This will allow the agency to start credentialing as soon as you have been presented or confirmed for your first assignment.

Weatherby's application is completed online. It will ask you to provide:

  • A detailed work history, including any gaps in employment

  • Education history

  • License numbers and supporting documents

  • Professional references

  • Immunization info

  • Actions and sanctions history

The application typically takes two to three hours to complete if you do it in one sitting. However, once you've set up an account, you can quit and resume the application if you'd rather complete it in more than one session.

Pro tip: Take your time and be as accurate as possible. Even simple errors can cause delays during the credentialing process. If you're unsure about what's needed, ask your consultant or call our dedicated application help line at  954.343.3050.

Prior to accepting an assignment, you will need to review and sign the agency's agreement. This agreement governs your relationship with the agency and not just the individual assignment. Once you accept an assignment, the confirmation letter containing the assignment details is added to your agreement.

What does the agreement cover?

An agency agreement is similar to a standard employment agreement. Depending on your tax situation, the agreement may be between the agency and you as an individual or with a business entity you have set up (such as an LLC). Typical agreement details include:

  • A description of your relationship with the agency as an independent contractor

  • How compensation works, including when and how to submit time

  • Authorization for the agency to present you to potential clients for open job opportunities

  • How notifications work

  • Details of the malpractice coverage

  • How risk management issues or concerns will be handled

  • Your responsibilities related to credentialing, licensing, background checks, and drug testing

  • How travel and housing work

  • Reimbursement requirements

  • Non-compete restrictions

  • Duration of the agreement and terms of renewal

  • How the agreement may be cancelled or terminated

After reviewing the agreement, return a signed copy to the agency. Weatherby completes this signing process electronically.

When a job looks like a good fit, let your consultant know you're interested and available to work the requested dates.

Review and confirm

Your consultant will email you a summary of the key job details as discussed with you and start preparations to present you as a candidate for the job. Review the details to make sure everything matches your expectations, then confirm you're ready to proceed.

Pro tip: Be sure to let your consultant know about any contingencies that could prevent you from fulfilling the assignment if it's offered to you. Up-front communication helps avoid problems later on.

Once you give us the green light, your consultant will present you for the job. A presentation usually consists of your CV and a highlights sheet that emphasizes key skills and experience relevant to the job.

Highlights help a healthcare facility quickly get a picture of who you are and why you're a good fit. Your consultant's goal is to help you stand out and give the facility the confidence to move forward.

Questions to ask

Some healthcare facilities will confirm based on your profile alone. Others may schedule a phone interview with a staff clinician or facility supervisor before they make a decision. Here are some good questions to ask during a phone interview to learn more about the facility.

  • Why do you need a locums provider?

  • How much autonomy will I have?

  • How many patients are seen per day/shift?

  • If I'm covering call, what are the average admissions or call rate?

  • What technology/EMR do you use?

  • What specialists are on staff?

  • How does the referral process work?

  • How would you describe the culture at your facility?

  • What support staff are available?

  • Will there be other locums working there as well?

Pro tip: Do your research before accepting an assignment. Visit the facility's website and read online reviews on Google, Glassdoor, Doximity, or other review sites. If you know someone who has worked there, ask about their experience.

Congratulations! You've just been confirmed for an assignment. When a facility says they want you for the job, your consultant will contact you to share the good news and review the final assignment details. All you have to do is say "yes!"

Your consultant will send you a confirmation letter via email as a formal notification of:

  • Compensation

  • Location of the assignment

  • Times and shifts to be covered

  • Any differences from the agency agreement that may be unique to the assignment

This confirmation letter becomes a part of your agency agreement.

Mark your calendar and start getting ready!

Visit the blog.

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