Places have their own problems. Urban areas are densely populated and expensive. Rural areas are remote and quiet, ideal for a relaxing vacation. But when it comes to healthcare, rural areas have their own set of issues. Hospitals operating in rural areas experience staff shortages regularly. The pool of professionals is smaller, and they frequently move out to urban centers in search of better career opportunities. Under this scenario, smooth hospital administration becomes a tough task.
Benefits of locum tenens physicians in rural hospitals
1. Staff shortages and related issues
When a hospital setting is short-staffed, there are issues at multiple levels. The patient workflow is hampered. Each staff is entitled to multiple roles, so they will be able to afford less attention to each role. Staff is bound to feel overburdened and overworked. When patient flow is more, the problem becomes worse. The escapist attitude becomes a trend in such a work culture, wherein every staff will try to throw the job on the other person. When such a situation arises, the patient becomes the worst sufferer. The hospital’s reputation goes down and the patient will no longer recommend the service to anyone else. The same task will take longer time to be completed, and the staff will either feel burnout or take frequent leaves. It is no surprise if one or the other staff quits the job abruptly or switches to even a lower-paying one with a better work culture.
2. Locum Physician – Who are they?
A temporary professional alternative to staff on leave or staff who has left is a regular norm in developed nations. There are agencies like ProLocums which provide a ready pool of professional locum tenens physicians with experience and licensure to provide healthcare. And they are available at all hospital administration levels. These professionals will replace the missing staff, and may or may not be employed permanently later on. The benefits of locum tenens to rural area healthcare centers may be described in the following sections.
3. No Geographical limits
They provide a nationwide talent pool of professionals, not just local but also located in multiple states across the nation. Certain communities are more in need of human resources than others, because of their location or other factors. Locum physicians move into and out of communities for weeks or months as and when required; thus, enriching these communities with the healthcare needs that they deserve.
4. Better work output
Any team functions better if the work distribution is balanced and all roles are properly conducted. This balance gets disturbed if someone is missing. The balanced is restored as soon as the missing link is replaced. The locum tenens physician provides a ready qualified and available replacement for this missing link. They prevent burnout of the staff who are working in multiple roles. Such staff either quit or work with reduced efficiency, both of which are detrimental to the healthcare facility.
5. Improved flexibility
The staff should not just be entitled to the number of leaves that their position offers, but also the freedom to take them whenever required. Any staff may be threatened while asking for a leave on a busy day or when a deadline is approaching. When replacements are handy, the staff feel free to take the leaves necessary for their physical and mental well-being. When leaves are easy, work culture improves, work attitude becomes positive and the same reflects in the experience of the patients.
6. Smooth hiring
The process of hiring and training professionals as per the hospital rules and regulations is long. If hiring and firing is a frequent affair, the hospital cannot run smoothly. Vital resources such as time and energy get diverted into the hiring process. A rather better option is the availability of locum physicians which empowers the HR team to let go of staff who seem to be burdensome or problematic and hire new ones only when dire needs arise. This also brings down the cost of hiring, another added benefit for hospital administration.
7. Finding great employees
Once hired as locum tenens physicians, it serves as a great trial exercise on both sides; whether the professional likes the work culture and also whether the hospital gets the output desired from the individual. Often, these temporary staffs turn out to be the best find for the institution. And this is becoming the new hiring norm, looking at the locum physician to be turned permanent rather than finding new professionals from scratch.