Working as a Locum After Achieving Financial Independence

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Doctor chest with stethoscope in pocket closeup

The number of family medicine jobs being filled by locum doctors is growing with every passing year. Many of the doctors who take these positions are clinicians who, through years of hard work and dedication to their profession, have achieved financial independence. It is a curious dynamic that a lot of people question.

If you are a doctor who has achieved financial independence, why on earth would you continue working? Moreover, why would you work as a locum tenens physician in family medicine? Aren’t there other specialties and/or work environments that would be better for you?

The three questions posed here are fairly common among people who do not understand the locum mindset. Vista Staffing, an organization that specializes in locum staffing solutions for medical facilities, explains that understanding the conundrum requires a good understanding of family medicine.

They Love Their Jobs

There are some specialties within the medical sphere that are preferred above others because of their higher pay and benefits. There are others, including family medicine jobs, that doctors consistently say they enjoy the most. In simple terms, family doctors love their jobs for the most part. They might not enjoy the bureaucracy of insurance companies and government regulations, but they love working with patients in a family medicine setting.

It turns out that this is one of the main reasons family medicine clinicians continue working as locums even after achieving financial independence. They want to keep working because they love what they do, and working as a locum lets them practice medicine without having to deal with the bureaucracy.

One last thing to consider is the natural tendency of the human brain to find optional work more enjoyable than mandatory work. In other words, a person who works because he or she wants to is more likely to enjoy working than someone who does so out of necessity.

Their Patients Need Them

Another big motivator for locum tenens family physicians is patient need. The fact is, the doctor shortage has led to inadequate supply. There are simply not enough family doctors to meet all the needs of the American public. There are so many people without family doctors that walk-in clinics and emergency rooms are being overwhelmed by cases that really belong in the family medicine office.

There are those physicians who reach financial independence yet continue working because they feel for their patients. They do not want those in need to suffer the consequences of yet another doctor leaving the profession because he or she no longer has to earn a living. Once again, going the locum route provides a perfect outlet.

A locum physician can accept family medicine assignments wherever the greatest need exists. Some doctors will purposely look for rural assignments in the knowledge that such areas have a challenging time recruiting and retaining employed family medicine doctors. That says nothing of the inability to convince doctors to open private practices in rural areas.

Other locums might concentrate on assignments in inner-city areas where adequate medical care is lacking. They take assignments that put them right in the middle of the action. Such assignments give a sense of purpose and meaning that goes well beyond having achieved financial independence.

When you understand family medicine and the factors that drive clinicians to practice it, it’s a lot easier to understand why doctors who have achieved financial independence continue working as locums. Indeed, there is more to life than money. Working as a locum despite having achieved financial independence gives doctors a real chance to give back because they want to.