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Career Coach

Short-Term Work

Published September 23, 2010 10:12 AM by Renee Dahring

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 situation.

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!

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About this Blog

    Occupation: Nurse Practitioners and NP Recruiters
    Setting: correctional healthcare/career consulting/teaching
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