News & Views

Perspectives on the locum tenens industry

What do women in medicine want? The locum life.


It’s September 2018 Women in Medicine Month, as declared by the American Medical Association (AMA) and today there are 333,833 female physicians practicing in the U.S. Conversely, there were about 200 women physicians in 1960 (to quote a campaign from that era: “You’ve come a long way, baby!”).

The rising number of women entering medical school has spurred studies about gender differences for decades and what we’ve learned could fill volumes. We know that women in medicine often have different professional aspirations than men. Female physicians are also an essential component of the rural physician workforce: A lack of women rural physicians especially limits access to care for women patients, who often prefer women clinicians and appear to complete more screening tests when seen by women.

Following Women in Medicine Month last year, an AMA survey of female physicians showed that:

  • 8 out of 10 women physicians want more options to help them address the struggles of balancing work
    and family responsibilities
  • 92% agree that childcare responsibilities tend to fall on women physicians more than male physicians
  • 97% said they want the option to have a flexible work schedule 

Get your groove back with locum tenens.

If you wish you could reclaim some of your time, earn more money, have a flexible schedule, see more of your family, or all of the above, locum tenens is a great option for women in medicine. But don’t just take our word for it.

Emergency Medicine Physician Michelle Bens, DO, loves locum tenens for a few reasons: It’s a great way to stay on your toes and learn new things. I love working in other parts of the country: I get to see different populations of people and problems, Dr. Bens says. ER docs have a high burnout rate and locums keeps me understanding that the grass is never greener; every place has its own problems and strengths. There’s no perfect spot. I can work as little or as much as I want. It’s so nice because I’m a mom, and I can block my work times. Most of her family still lives in Michigan so she piggybacks trips home with her jobs.

Janice Boughton, MD, who blogs at Why is American health care so expensive?, says Locum tenens work is a truly great option. It allows me to know that I will be able to stay busy in my field and make enough money to support my family and to have breathing space to do other important things.”

Another well-traveled female physician, Dr. Wight, sold her thriving practice a decade ago and began working locum tenens full time says she just didn’t want to work so hard at the business of medicine. I went to work early, got home late, had dinner, then did it all over again,” she says. “I told my patients to take care of themselves but I wasn’t taking care of myself. Locums has given me a new lease on life – and practicing medicine.”

If you’ve always thought having medical skills would allow you to travel to new (or the same) places, interact with people in a more meaningful way, have adventures, roll up your sleeves and get your feet wet that sort of thing you were right. It’s called locum tenens and many women (and men) in medicine choose locum assignments to spend time near family (think college-bound kids), tackle those bucket list items, fight burnout, and even use their skills to help a vulnerable or underserved population. Take a look at opportunities available right now.

If you have a story or two about women in medicine (especially locum tenens) we’d love to hear from you at

We’re celebrating Women in Medicine Month by awarding an AWAY suitcase! To enter to win, click here.