The year 2020 has been a year of immense changes due to the COVID pandemic. The COVID pandemic has wrought havoc not only to the health care industry, but to the locums industry. When elective cases were cancelled in March 2020 due to the pandemic, office visits, elective procedures, and hospital admissions plummeted. As a result, hospital revenues fell and the demand for locums physicians in certain specialties fell as well. While the locums market is beginning to rebound, uncertainties still exist, and it is imperative that locums physicians have certain things in place when going into 2021. Here are the three things your locums career needs in 2021.
- Clarity. The first thing every locums physician needs for 2021 is clarity. Why are you doing locums? What do you hope to accomplish? How long do you want to do locums? Do you even want to continue doing locums? These are questions you need to answer because the answer to these questions will help formulate your locums strategy for the upcoming year.
- Strategy. The second thing you need for your locums career in 2021 is a solid locums strategy. The locums market is still faced with uncertainty as the COVID pandemic rages on and staffing needs remain uncertain. Each locums physician needs a strategy in term of when and where they will work, how much they want to work, and how they will find assignments. Each locums physician also needs a strategy in terms of how they will handle cancelled work assignments and the potential interruption in terms of work assignments and income. Furthermore, as is well known, PPE shortages have been a huge issue during the COVID pandemic and has had devastating consequences on the medical community. Each locums physician needs a strategy in terms of how they will address the issue of PPE at their locums assignments and how they will secure their own PPE.
- Team. The third thing locums physicians need for 2021 is a strong locums team. Your locums team should consist of several solid locums recruiters who can give a steady supply of locums opportunities. The second member of your locums team needs to be a locums coach who can serve as a resource to help you navigate the uncertainties of the locums market. Thirdly, each locums physician needs a strong financial and legal team. You need an estate attorney who will assist you in estate planning. The COVID pandemic has brought physicians face to face with their own mortality. One must establish such things as a trust and a will. Furthermore, physicians need life, health, and disability insurance which can be obtained with the help of a certified financial planner. In the unfortunate event something happens to you, you need to make sure that your family is taken care of. In addition to an attorney and a financial planner, a CPA is a must as well. Many locums physicians may be eligible to take advantage of government relief programs such as the PPP and EIDL loans. Your CPA can help you see if you qualify for this funding.
2021 promises to be a year full of challenges as the country continues to grapple with the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. However, with clarity, a strategy, and a team, locums physicians can adjust to the challenges of doing locums during these difficult times and find success.
Stephanie E. Freeman, MD, is a double board certified critical care physician who has been doing locums for over 10 years. She specializes in helping physicians of all specialties transition to locums. To discuss your locums strategy for 2021, be sure to schedule a complimentary 15 min consultation with Dr. Stephanie.