Study: Temporary physician staffing on the rise

An increasing number of physicians are turning to temporary assignments, or working "locum tenens," according to an annual survey from Staff Care, the locum tenens staffing division of AMN Healthcare, the largest healthcare staffing firm in the U.S.

Staff Care surveyed client and non-client healthcare executives and locum tenens physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants and reported the following key statistics.

  • 91 percent of healthcare facility managers used locum tenens physicians in 2014, up from 73.6 percent in 2012.
  • 34.8 percent of healthcare facility managers used locum tenens physicians for primary care in 2014.
  • 73 percent of healthcare facility managers used a minimum of one temporary physician per month.
  • 18 percent used more than four per month.
  • 25 percent used temporary nurse practitioners and physician assistants in 2014, up significantly from 9.5 percent in 2012.
  • 68 percent use temporary clinicians while seeking permanent staff.
  • 10.1 percent said they use temporary clinicians to address the increasing number of patients seeking care as a result of the PPACA.
  • 21 percent of physicians reported started practicing locum tenens directly after their residencies in 2014, compared to 14.3 percent in 2012.
  • 14 percent of temporary physicians are 40 years old or younger, compared to 6.9 percent who were 40 years old or younger in 2012.
  • 24.3 percent of temporary physicians started working locum tenens after retiring from permanent practice in 2014, compared to 36.5 percent in 2012.
  • 64 percent of physicians said temporary practice is equally satisfying as permanent practice.
  • 27 percent of physicians practicing locum tenens are seeking permanent employment.


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