Locum Tenens Tips: What to Know Before Your First Assignment

So you just got your first locum tenens physician assignment. Even though you’re excited about the opportunity, you have a ton of questions. No doubt they’ll soon be answered, but it’s still good to find out more on your own.

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place to learn more about what to expect!

Here are some things to keep in mind before your first assignment takes place!

Find Out if They’ll Cover the Cost of Travel

If you are taking a local assignment, you don’t need to worry about travel expenses. But if you’re flying to a new city or state, you should know all the travel and housing details ahead of time.

Usually, the office will cover any travel costs to your locum assignment. The travel costs will include things like your flight, rental car, and housing.

It’s best to find out who is in charge of finding you housing. You can ask whether you need to do anything on your end and what you should expect.

Pack Lightly

When traveling, you don’t want to deal with the hassle of carting around a bunch of luggage.

Pack as lightly as possible to keep your travel stress-free. If you need more clothing and other things, you can buy them when you get there.

Coordinate With the Office

Do you have the contact information of the person who is going to get you set up for your assignment?

Don’t leave these details behind or forget to ask for them before traveling. You should have a plan in place and know who to call once you get situated.

Ask About Malpractice Insurance

When working on a locum tenens, you must find out more about the hospital’s malpractice carrier. Your assignment should include coverage, but still, learn what the coverage limits are.

Learning about details about the insurance will ensure you’re not blindsided later.

Focus on Your Health

It’s up to you to stay healthy during your assignment. Even though it may be a temporary job, you should still establish a workout routine.

You may opt to establish your own workout routine instead of finding a gym. If that’s the case, plan to do some outdoor activities like running.

You should also know where the local grocery stores are. Do some research on which grocery stores carry the best produce and other healthy foods.

And, make a list of some of the healthy restaurants you want to go to while you’re there.

Taking care of yourself while you’re away from home will ensure you arrive back home in good health.

Be Prepared to Get Frustrated

Everything should run smoothly when you’re being trained. But, it would help if you started working and assumed that there’s going to be a learning curve.

Since you’ll be working there anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, you’ll need to learn quickly. Do your best to navigate your new assignment, be flexible, and adjust when needed.

You’ll Love the Change of Scenery

Even though you may get frustrated, you’ll love the change of scenery. A locum tenens assignment is a new adventure in a new place.

Your job will give you the chance to explore the area. And, when you’re not working, you can treat it like a vacation.

Plus, you get to meet new people, and who knows, it may open the door to new assignments for you!


If all goes well, you should love your new assignment. It’ll be nice for you to have more control and have a flexible schedule. Plus, you’ll have plenty of time to hone your skills.

Moreover, if you’re focusing on a new area of practice, ask yourself whether this is something you can see yourself doing in the future.

After ironing out the kinks of your first assignment, you may find yourself anxious to do more. You’ll no doubt love the work, change of pace, and ability to create a better work-life balance.

Atif Mallo

Atif Mallo is a freelance blogger with huge interest in technology, science, life hacks and health. He loves coffee, cheesecake and chess. Drop a line in comments to leave feedback for him.

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