The National Association of Locum Tenens Organizations (NALTO®) reserves the second week in August to shine a spotlight on locum tenens physicians and honor them for their valuable contributions to the medical field. This year, we celebrate National Locum Tenens Week from August 9-13, 2021.
(Please scroll to the end to watch a video tribute to our providers from our Interim Physicians physician recruiters.)
As the United States continues to work through a second pandemic year, COVID-19 has heightened physician burnout and placed increased demand on an already tapped physician workforce. The Association of American Medical Colleges’ report on physician supply and demand utilized pre-pandemic data to predict a shortage of 21,400-55,200 primary care physicians by 2033, as well as a shortage of non-primary care specialists between 33,700-86,700. Short- and long-term consequences from the pandemic are suspected to drastically increase these numbers.
For many industries, the ‘new normal’ of March 2020 introduced remote working and increased schedule flexibility. In the healthcare community, medical providers donned PPE; quarantined away from their families; worked multiple shifts to compensate for sick or furloughed coworkers; forfeited vacation time; and placed themselves directly in harm’s way to care for their patients. That level of bravery and self-sacrifice is unparalleled.
As hospitals and health systems reeled from the financial impact of canceled elective surgeries and a swell in demand for emergency physicians and internists, locum tenens providers expedited medical licenses and crisscrossed the nation to close gaping schedule holes. They have served a crucial role in the pandemic. In fact, 71% of locum tenens physicians, nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs), and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), have treated COVID-19 patients. Instead of limiting their shifts or taking time off when the world shut down, 73% of locum tenens physicians either maintained the same number of locum assignments worked or increased the number of assignments to help fill facility gaps.
“Our locum tenens providers deliver healthcare where none may exist at all,” said Tim Hand, CEO of Interim Physicians. “These caring, talented professionals very well may be the difference in whether a rural facility’s doors stay open or a metro facility’s schedule stays full. They are an integral part of the healthcare ecosystem, and they deserve the recognition and respect we give them this week and every week.”
Interim Physicians would like to extend a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to our locum tenens physicians, PAs, and NPs for providing lifesaving care. Without you, we would not be able to fulfill our mission of delivering quality healthcare to help hospitals and health centers reduce critical staffing gaps across the nation.