Pros and Cons of Being a Locum Doctor

Pros and Cons of Being a Locum Doctor
  • Opening Intro -

    Most doctors will look for permanent positions in a hospital or clinic to advance their knowledge and earn experience in their field after they earn their doctoral degree.

    However, this isn't the only option for a skilled physician to take.


There’s also the flexible position of a locum doctor to consider. Moving around from one place to another and filling in vacant positions sounds like a pretty good deal. It’s something many medical students are vying for after they finish school, but is it worth the trouble?

What are the pros and cons of being a locum doctor?

Use it as a trial period

A locum doctor is generally in a temporary physician’s post. While other positions in a hospital are often long-term and require a significant amount of time invested, locum doctors can treat their positions like a trial period.

You can check out your new post and see if you enjoy the circumstances that surround it. If you find yourself working in a different setting for the first time, you can see for yourself whether or not it’s worth working in such conditions.

What if you’re sent to a rural area to treat patients and you don’t enjoy the atmosphere?

A regular doctor’s position would have you spending quite a long while there, but as a locum doctor, you can see it as a glimpse into the conditions a doctor would be working under.

It’s a kind of test period that showcases how a long-term position would look like.

Adjust to different environments

While trying out new positions and environments might sound like a good deal, it’s also pretty exhausting for a physician. There’s a reason that doctors generally remain in the positions that they enjoy.

Having to switch back and forth from one area to another and getting to know new patients is pretty taxing, and it’s one of the drawbacks of being a locum doctor.

Settling down in a single post gives you quite a bit of comfort and the knowledge that you’re where you want to be. A locum doctor has to continue to other locations pretty quickly before they can grow familiar with their post or the patients that they’re treating. While this may be acceptable to some physicians, others will find it a little too tiring.

Set your own schedule

A physician’s post is rarely considered a “flexible” position. In fact, it’s seen as quite the opposite. Not only do you have a rigid schedule you have to stick to, but there will always be days where you have to stay in longer due to patient numbers or specific circumstances that require your knowledge.

Having your own schedule is basically unheard of. Locum doctors, on the other hand, get a bit more lee-way with the time they invest in the job.

Being a locum doctor offers unparalleled flexibility. You can organize your work in such a way to allow you to not miss out on anything. If there’s a family wedding or vacation going on, you can schedule your contracts so that you don’t have any work during this time. Create your schedule according to your needs and only take on work that you find necessary.

Travel to new locations

If you’ve caught the travel bug, a temporary position as a locum doctor might just be the thing you need in your life. You get to frequently change positions and move to the unlikeliest of places. Most doctors stay in one spot for quite a long time, but locum doctors get around.

You don’t get to pick where you go most of the time, but you do get some benefits with every trip. If you’re strapped for cash, you don’t have to worry about financing your transport or stay wherever you’re working.

This is something that any reliable locum agency will handle for you. They not only find work for you, but they also set up the transport and accommodation for your working needs. It might be work, but it’s still an expense paid trip.

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Put your ambitions on hold

While being a locum doctor might sound fine and dandy at first, there are some drawbacks to this kind of mobility and flexibility. You’re never at any one post too long, which means you’re getting the opportunity to climb the professional ladder in medicine.

Most doctors acquire new experience and knowledge through a stable post. Slowly, but eventually, they climb the ranks and increase their standing in the medical community they’re in. A locum doctor will find it hard to earn promotions as they’re constantly moving on to new areas and working with new teams.


There are lots of reasons why many medical professionals would prefer the position of a locum doctor. At the same time, there are just as many reasons why others might not enjoy this post. What’s important is that the physician is well-acquainted with a locum doctor’s circumstances before choosing this position for themselves.

Image Credit: locum doctor by Pixabay

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