Mitigating Healthcare Staffing Shortages with Locum Tenens

May 8, 2023

The US healthcare sector may experience a physician shortfall of up to 124,000 by 2033, according to the American Hospital Association. One of the ways to mitigate the adverse impacts of this shortage is to consider hiring locum tenens.

Locum tenens refers to medical personnel, such as doctors, nurses, or other allied health professionals, who temporarily or urgently fill in for missing staff members at healthcare facilities. They offer temporary staffing relief and increase flexibility for healthcare facilities.

This blog discusses how locum tenens can mitigate staffing shortages and the challenges that organizations face in hiring them.

5 Reasons Why You Should Hire Locum Tenens

  1. Availability: Locum tenens can provide necessary staffing coverage, often within just a few days after being asked. This can save healthcare facilities a great deal of time. This also allows for a quick response to unexpected events and emergency situations.
  2. Flexibility: Locum tenens can be hired on a short-term basis to fill in staffing gaps. With this flexibility, healthcare facilities can maintain continuity of care for their patients without having to spend money and time hiring permanent staff members.
  3. Cost-effectiveness: Locum Tenens are paid on a per diem basis, which means that they are only compensated for the days that they actually work. Also, healthcare facilities are not required to pay for malpractice insurance or offer benefits to locum tenens workers, further reducing costs. Hiring locum tenens staff also reduces the need to pay overtime to existing staff to cover staffing gaps.
  4. Experience: The nature of their work has allowed locum tenens to have extensive training and experience, and they can offer the healthcare institution fresh viewpoints and ideas.
  5. Retention: Healthcare institutions can lessen the stress of permanent staff members by using locum tenens who provide additional support to the existing staff, boosting job satisfaction and resulting in lower turnover rates. This can also allow the existing staff to concentrate more on giving their patients high-quality care.

Challenges Organizations Face In Hiring Locum Tenens

Approximately 446,000 health assistants, 95,000 nursing assistants, 98,700 medical and lab technologists and technicians, and more than 29,000 nurse practitioners are expected to be needed in the country by 2025, according to a Mercer report. While locum tenens may seem to be the cure-all solution to mitigate the current healthcare staffing shortage, it can be quite a challenge to find and recruit them based on the required skill set. Recruiting locum tenens amid the healthcare staffing shortage crisis across the US can prove to be an arduous job. Other challenges include the following:

  1. Finding the right candidates: It is always crucial to find the right candidates, especially in the healthcare industry. The importance of identifying candidates with the required skills, expertise, and qualifications to provide quality care in the given environment is pivotal. Recruiting locum tenens requires careful planning and execution, which can be a challenging and time-consuming process. Roping in qualified candidates is one of the primary challenges in hiring locum tenens workers.
  2. Fierce competition: According to a report by Business Wire, 88% of hospitals, medical groups, and other healthcare facilities used locum tenens healthcare professionals in 2022. Healthcare facilities struggle to get hold of qualified applicants since there is a shortage of locum tenens because of growing competition in the healthcare industry, the higher pay rates offered by permanent positions, and the desire for work-life balance among healthcare professionals.
  3. Time-consuming: Another challenge is verifying locum tenens provider’s credentials, conducting background checks, and ensuring that they have the necessary licenses and certifications. This can be a time-consuming process that may require additional resources.

The Way Ahead

  1. Healthcare institutions can overcome these challenges by targeting the right candidates through proper screening and utilizing the right job portals that target the right pool of candidates.
  2. Highly qualified locum tenens can be drawn in by offering competitive salary packages, a positive workplace culture, and building long-term relationships with them.
  3. Partnering with a staffing agency that specializes in recruiting and has access to a wide pool of qualified candidates, the latest recruiting tools, and knowledgeable experts who stay up-to-date with the latest market trends, is the key to overcoming these challenges.

With over 18 years of experience and a team of skilled professionals, iQuasar provides healthcare providers with top-notch recruitment solutions to meet all their needs. Our recruiters possess the proficiency to deal with the ever-evolving market trends when hiring locum tenens. We use dynamic strategies, creating an opportunity for our clients to focus their resources on other important strategic pursuits. Recruiting poses several challenges that demand considerable time and energy to overcome, and we aim to help our clients in this undertaking so that they can operate in a more efficient manner and take their organization to new heights.

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