Dear Career Coach:
What do you suggest for the NP who must
become employed quickly for income and benefits because a spouse was laid off? What does HR say these days
about short stints for NPs?
Dear Reader: It has taken some time for NPs and PAs to
warm up to the idea of working anything other than a long-term permanent
position. Most of us want to find a practice and call it home, but recent
changes in the economy have led many of us to rethink short-term or temporary
assignments. In the recruiting business these temp positions are called “locum
tenens” and an assignment can be as short as a week or as long as a year or
two. Pay is usually above average and many assignments have the option of
benefits like health insurance and 401(k). If your license is in order, you can
often start working with little delay.
For those considering short-term work, the outlook is bright.
Locum tenens positions are at a surplus and requests for temp NPs and PAs have
gone through the roof. Apparently when many physicians threatened to leave
practice over the new healthcare legislation they meant what they said. This
has led many employers to take a second look at advanced practice clinicians
(NPs and PAs) to fill the void. That is great news for practitioners in your
To find a locum tenens or temporary position you will likely
need to go through an agency. Employers turn to temporary employees in order to
avoid putting new folks on their payroll or to get around a hiring freeze, so
most clinics and healthcare organizations usually don’t hire temps or short-stint
clinicians directly. Using a recruitment agency can be a good thing for the
clinician as well because most will provide malpractice insurance, assist with
obtaining licensing, and handle any travel and/or housing arrangements for you.
Unless you are a skilled negotiator I do not recommend going it alone. Just
make sure you use a reputable agency. Be wary of any recruiter who overpromises
or doesn’t seem to have a good grasp on NP and PA practice.
Good luck in your job search and be sure to keep me posted!
and suggestions are always welcome! Rdahring@gmail.com or