Pros and Cons Working as a Locum Physician

Advantages of becoming a locum doctor:

  1. Opportunity for domestic and international travel

Locum tenens positions are accessible throughout Canada and various global locations, such as Australia, China, the UK, and the Caribbean. Be prepared for paperwork when leaving the province, and additional administrative tasks for international locum roles.

  1. Control over your workload

As a locum, you decide your workload. Many new doctors maintain a full-time practice and add locum work during evenings and weekends for extra income. Others may prefer part-time locum work or plan breaks for family and travel between full-time locum tenens roles to maintain a balanced lifestyle.

  1. Ample time for patient care

Based on your chosen locum role, you can likely focus on patient care throughout the day, without the burden of managing a practice.

  1. High availability of locum positions

Locum doctors are in great demand in Canada and worldwide. Some specialties are particularly sought after, offering higher income potential and a variety of options in terms of location, hours, and positions.

Disadvantages of becoming a locum doctor:

  1. Limited control over practice rules

As a locum, you typically need to follow the existing procedures at your workplace, even if you have the expertise to make improvements, unlike running your own practice.

  1. Continuous adaptation to new environments

Each locum job presents new technology, colleagues, workplace culture, and patients, which requires constant adaptation and may not suit everyone.

  1. Continuous search for new positions

Locum positions are often short-term, varying from days or weeks in Canada to years abroad. Finding ideal locum work that aligns with your preferences may require ongoing job searches.

  1. Risk of burnout from excessive locum work

While locum work may offer a better work-life balance, overextending yourself, such as managing your own practice alongside locum work, can lead to physician burnout.

For more resources on careers in healthcare & physician employment check out:
How to Improve Workplace Productivity in the Healthcare Industry
Employment Contract Review for Physicians