Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

’Temp doctors’ choose career for flexibility, easier lifestyle

12.01.2005


When people think of jobs that use temporary workers, doctors are probably not one of the first careers to come to mind.



But the use of temporary staff doctors appears to be a growing trend, and a new study suggests many doctors are choosing short-term assignments because they don’t want to work full-time or because they are seeking a more flexible schedule. “The most striking finding was this emphasis on a more controllable work schedule and flexibility, especially among women physicians,” said Angelo Alonzo, co-author of the study and professor of sociology at Ohio State University. “If more women physicians seek temporary jobs so they have less stressful lifestyles, it raises issues about the future of health care staffing.”

Alonzo conducted the study with Arthur Simon, a physician with the Dean Health System in Madison, Wisc. Their results were published in a recent issue of the Journal of Healthcare Management.


Temporary staff physicians are known as locum tenens (LT), from the Latin “one holding a place.” Hospitals, clinics and physician practices hire LTs to cover for vacations, short-term leaves and seasonal demand, as well as other reasons, such as shortages of various specialists. Although the number of LT physicians is not known for sure, one LT placement firm estimated that 15 percent of all physicians worked locum tenens sometime during their career in 2000, up from 4 percent in 1987 – nearly a four-fold increase.

Alonzo and Simon surveyed 776 physicians who worked at least one assignment with CompHealth, an LT placement agency in Salt Lake City. (CompHealth provided the names of those surveyed.) While about 70 percent of those who responded to the survey were men, the findings suggest women may be particularly drawn to LT jobs, Alonzo said. Women were 30 percent of the LT group, but only account for 23 percent of active U.S. physicians.

For women, the top reason for choosing LT assignments (mentioned by 37 percent) was schedule flexibility. “Many of the women, as well as some of the men, just don’t want to work 50 to 70 hours a week, or don’t want to be on call,” Alonzo said. “Some doctors choose LT assignments in which they can limit the number of hours they work and are on call.”

For men surveyed, the top reason for being a locum tenens was the ability to work part-time (mentioned by 38 percent). Many of these were older physicians who were transitioning into retirement, he said. Some doctors may want schedule flexibility to spend more time with children, but that wasn’t an issue with most doctors surveyed – only about 28 percent said they had a dependent child or parent in their home.

In addition to schedule flexibility and the ability to work part-time, the other top reasons for choosing LT work was to increase income (15.5 percent), to travel (9.5 percent) and to experience a different practice setting (9 percent). About 3 percent said their main reason was to be free from administrative responsibilities. “It wasn’t a dominant focus, but some physicians don’t want to deal with insurance companies, reimbursements, and all the office management hassles that come when you run your own practice,” Alonzo said. “You certainly reduce these hassles when you’re a practicing locum tenens physician.”

While temporary employees may have negative connotations in some professions, the results suggest LT physicians have more training than average. The survey found 85 percent of the LT sample was board-certified – meaning they met objective measures of training and competence in specific fields. That compares to about 65 percent of active U.S. physicians who are board-certified. “LT physicians tend to be very well-trained and that means patients are going to get good care from them,” he said.

Alonzo said it was significant that a third of doctors surveyed planned to make LT a permanent career choice. This means they will be going from assignment to assignment with no intention of remaining in one place for long.

The fact that such a large minority of LT physicians has no intention of settling down to one job has positive and negative implications for health care, according to Alonzo. “The good news is that we get more providers who are happier with their lifestyles. But if this becomes too popular, it could lead to physician shortages in some areas,” he said.

In addition, LT jobs give physicians less autonomy in how they practice medicine. Because of their short-term assignments, LT physicians have to follow practices styles of the hospital or clinic that hires them. “That means LT physicians may have less autonomy in their temporary practice setting – they have new practice styles to follow,” he said. “They are giving up some of their autonomy in order to have a more comfortable lifestyle where they have flexibility and the opportunity to explore new areas of the country and different practice settings. “There seems to be both an upside and a downside to this trend of increasing numbers of locum tenens physicians.”

| EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.osu.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Do microplastics harbour additional risks by colonization with harmful bacteria?
05.04.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

Im Focus: The Future of Ultrafast Solid-State Physics

In an article that appears in the journal “Review of Modern Physics”, researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) assess the current state of the field of ultrafast physics and consider its implications for future technologies.

Physicists can now control light in both time and space with hitherto unimagined precision. This is particularly true for the ability to generate ultrashort...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Diamond-like carbon is formed differently to what was believed -- machine learning enables development of new model

19.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

Electromagnetic wizardry: Wireless power transfer enhanced by backward signal

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Ultrafast electron oscillation and dephasing monitored by attosecond light source

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>