Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Radiology Locum Tenens Salaries And Jobs

As with any job, an important consideration is salary, whether it be mammographer salary trends or interventional radiologist salaries or radiology salary trends in general. However, one aspect these discussions do not fully capture is the availability of temporary employment within radiology, also known as locum tenens positions.

What are locum tenens radiology jobs?

Locum tenens is Latin for a placeholder, or one who temporarily fulfills the duties of another. Within American medical practice, there are many opportunities for locum tenens work, especially in hospitals that are under-staffed or are work in underserved areas. Of course, by definition, these jobs are temporary in nature. Still, many practitioners find them desirable for a variety of reasons.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of locum tenens radiology positions?

As locum tenens radiology jobs are temporary, they are afforded certain benefits not available to permanent employees while denied others. In general, per Wikipedia, there are several common advantages and disadvantages to a locum tenens position in any field:
Locums provide a ready means for organisations to fill positions that are either only temporarily empty (during sickness, leave or for other reasons) or for which no long-term funding is available. Locuming also allows a professional to try (and get experienced in) a wide range of work environments or specialisation fields which a permanent employee may not encounter.

However, the locum situation also has a number of disadvantages - the transient nature means extra stress and work for the locums whenever they have to fit into a new position, and for the hiring organisation, this generally means that the required flexibility (and often, the lack of a guaranteed income) has to be rewarded with high salaries. These may in the long term create higher costs for the hiring organisation than adding more full-time positions (especially in highly-skilled, accredited professions, and unlike the situation in some professions where cheap temporary labour or significant use of interns actually undercuts wages and reduces total staff costs).

Also, and especially true in professions where knowing all procedures and past case histories is important (such as for doctors working on patients, who may dislike not being treated by their own doctor, or by constantly shifting doctors), locums may provide lesser-quality work (or be seen as posing such a risk, fairly or not). Further, locums often experience resentment from permanent staff, for example because they are paid more, or because they are considered to shoulder less responsibility.
It is up to you to weight the advantages and disadvantages of any particular situation as compared to your career goals. If you are unsure, locum tenens is something to consider trying because by its nature, it does not require a significant commitment.

Why do practices offer locum tenens jobs?

Another important to consider is the motivation of your potential employer in offering the job. Is a partner taking a sabbatical? Are they looking for someone to 'tryout' before offering a full-time position? Are they trying to provide a service for which they have a low but still significant volume of business? All of these are possible reasons, and most employers will be up-front about their reasons for creating the opportunity. Indeed, they have little incentive not to be. However, it is still your responsibility to make sure you have this question answered for that particular opportunity before making a final decision.

How much do radiologists working locum tenens get paid?

There is a wide range of compensation available for locum tenens radiology positions, depending on the specifics of the job and the work required. While it is difficult to draw a direct comparison to the salaries of, say, interventional radiologist salaries, radiologists working locum tenens can make up to $1200 to $1500 per 8 hour shift. Again, this number can vary significantly by number of studies read, the type of study being read, the specific shift (daytime vs night, weekday vs weekend), the practice setting, and geographic location.

Whether you are starting out in radiology and want to sample different practice settings, in mid career and want to broaden your clinical experience, or in the twilight of your career but still want to be an active radiologist, a locum tenens radiology job may be the right option for you. Start searching today!

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