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Career Coach

Four Ways to Prepare for Locum Tenens

Published October 7, 2010 10:42 AM by Renee Dahring
Are you considering a short-term assignment? I’ve been recommending temporary jobs as a good way to bridge the gap between jobs, but there are a few things you should be aware of before you apply for that locum assignment. These preparations can cost time, and money, so read on to get prepared for a locum tenens position.

1. Get your paperwork in order. Just like a permanent job you will need your state license and your references. If you are taking an assignment that is out of state you will need to apply for a license in that state. The only exceptions to this are assignments in the federal system, such as military or federal prisons, and on reservations.

2. Get a license for working in a new state. Applying for a license in another state will vary greatly in the scope and amount of paperwork required. Some states require only a small fee while others will want original copies of your transcripts and certification and may even require you to prove your competency by taking a test. You should also be aware that national certification is mandatory in almost all states. If you do not have national certification it’s going to be next to impossible to work a locum job in new state.

If you are an NP you will also have to get a nursing license in the new state. The good news is many states are in the nursing compact, which means they will honor your current state license. If you are not in a compact state you might be able to get a temporary license, however, only a few states have a provision for temporary NP licenses.

3. Look into your prescribing license. Prescribing rights are not automatic. There are several states that require a separate license to prescribe. Sometimes this means you have to prove you have a certain number of hours of experience prescribing – and they define what they will accept as proof. Other states require you to complete a course or take a test before they will allow you to prescribe.

4. Verify that your DEA number is valid. DEA numbers are not all created equal. If you have a current DEA number but are going to be working in a state that allows more schedules than the state currently indicated on your DEA you will need to complete a new DEA application.

These steps can take a couple weeks or several months – the average is about 90 days. And don’t forget there are fees associated with new licensure which you have to pay up front and can amount to hundreds of dollars.

Questions? Comments? rdahring@gmail.com

I’m also on Facebook www.facebook.com/NPCareerCoach

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