Working as a locum tenens physician here in the States does have its advantages over standard employment and private practice ownership. But did you know that locum tenens opportunities aren’t just limited to the U.S.? Indeed, locum opportunities abound overseas as well.
A fascinating article recently published by Physicians Weekly discusses some of the pros and cons of international locum tenens. Author Tyler Black has more than two decades of experience in the industry. He suggests that international locum tenens might be a good fit for domestic locums looking for something different.
Plenty of Location Options
Black specifically mentions a number of different locations in his article. He speaks of locum tenens assignments in Australia, Canada, China, New Zealand, and both the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. Perhaps these are the only locations he has personally dealt with. At any rate, there are other locations in addition to these.
The thing about international locum tenens is that it can make a doctor’s travel dreams come true. Understand that one of the things domestic locums appreciate about their work is the opportunity to travel. But what if a doctor has seen everything that he/she wants to see stateside? He or she can hop on a plane and take an assignment or two in China.
A Less Stressful Environment
It goes without saying that doctors need a reason to travel overseas to practice medicine. Well, Black offers a very good reason: less stress. Apparently, many of the overseas healthcare systems looking to bring on American locums are socialized systems. They offer a less stressful environment thanks to lighter patient loads and more time off.
Black says the average American locum sees about 50 patients per day. In the locations he mentioned in his piece, the average is about 20 per day. That means more time spent with patients and less time meeting the demands of employers and insurance companies.
The less stressful environment overseas is the stuff clinician dreams are made of. It alone is sufficient reason to consider international locum tenens.
Differing Assignment Lengths
Another big plus of international locum tenens is the variety of assignments doctors have to choose from. Black says that many overseas assignments can last as long as a year. But there are also assignments that can be as short as a couple of weeks.
Assignment lengths apparently tend to be linked to specific locations. Your longer assignments are found in China, New Zealand, and Australia. Shorter assignments are found in places like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and even Canada.
Things to Think About
There’s no doubt that international locum tenens has a lot to offer. But there’s also a lot to think about. For example, licensing and credentialing can be challenging for some locations. It could take up to six months to get everything in order before you are ready to take an international assignment. That means you have to think ahead.
Another thing to think about is culture. There can be significant cultural differences between American medicine and the medicine practiced wherever you plan to work overseas. The thing is that your international workplaces are not going to adapt what they do to U.S. standards. So you have to be prepared to work in whatever culture you find yourself.
Have you ever considered international locum tenens? If not, it is something well worth thinking about. Working overseas takes locum tenens to a whole new level that is impossible to experience any other way. It could be just what you have been looking for to complete an already rewarding career as a locum tenens clinician.