How to Prepare for the Locum Tenens Lifestyle

The increasing popularity of locum tenens amongst new and seasoned physicians alike comes as no surprise. After all, it presents medical practitioners with many benefits, from a greater degree of flexibility in work schedule to the opportunity to travel and experience new healthcare facilities and communities (check for mock survey here). For this reason, more and more doctors are choosing to work with recruiters like

But don’t be fooled; working in locums comes with its fair share of challenges too. And if you don’t prepare, there’s a good chance that you’ll struggle with its way of living. To help you out, we’ve compiled some tips that should help you ready yourself for each assignment and ease yourself into the locum tenens lifestyle.

Coordinate with the recruiter beforehand

Ask any experienced locum tenens physician, and they’ll tell you the same thing – to navigate the onboarding process for new assignments effectively, you must coordinate closely with your recruiter. When you get right down to it, it’s their responsibility to minimize, if not mitigate, any complications you might experience on the job by providing you with as much information as possible.

Additionally, they’ll also finalize all your travel arrangements and ensure that you have adequate housing, a rental vehicle, and anything else that you may require on the assignment. Generally, it’s best to get details sorted out at least a week before you leave. However, as long as you’ve got at least 48 hours to settle down, then it’s good.

Familiarize yourself with the EMR

The EMR or electronic medical records are more crucial than many inexperienced locum practitioners give it credit for. Your understanding and grasp of the EMR will ultimately determine your onboarding duration with the system, after all. But, more importantly, being familiar with it will boost your comfort level and ensure that you’re able to treat your patients to the best of your abilities. And don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need. The more you know, the better you’ll perform.

Get to know your colleagues

Apart from the EMR, you’ll want to know the people you’ll be working with, from doctors to medical assistants and nurses. When all’s said and done, your efficacy as a healthcare practitioner will hinge on the facility’s staff. Therefore, you must build a strong working relationship with all relevant personnel. You’ll be surprised at how much easier the job will be if everyone is on the same page.

Enjoy yourself

Working as a locum tenens physician is one of the best ways to gain experience, treat patients, and elevate healthcare. Simply put, it allows you to make a difference in ways that a more planted role cannot. So try to enjoy it all. The more fun you have, the better it’ll be for yourself and your patients.


Working as a locum tenens doctor comes with many advantages. However, to reap the benefits of the lifestyle, you must be prepared. By following all of the abovementioned tips, you’ll be able to make the transition to the locum tenens lifestyle much easier than you otherwise would have.


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