Why Working Locums is Like a Paid Job Interview

During my days as a nurse practitioner student, I would search NP job boards out of pure curiosity identifying the most exotic or interesting posts I could find. I even began the application process for relocating to practice in New Zealand until I discovered the average nurse practitioner salary for Kiwis is much, much lower than here in the U.S. Sayonara dreams of renting an apartment overlooking the sand and surf. I then turned my focus stateside dreaming instead of a travel NP position within our country’s borders.

Have you ever considered working locums? Essentially the travel nursing equivalent for nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and physicians, locum tenens gives providers the opportunity to practice in temporary positions. From a single shift to an ongoing, open-ended commitment, locums assignments come in all shapes and sizes. As a nurse practitioner, locums gives you unmatched flexibility in your career. But, what if you’re looking for something more stable?

In many cases, employers choose to advertise a position as a locum tenens opportunity because they are having difficulty finding a qualified nurse practitioner to fill the spot. In other cases, the employer may be using a locums posting to road-test providers for long-term employment consideration. So, if you are looking for a permanent nurse practitioner job, you shouldn’t necessarily shy away from locum tenens opportunities.

As a general rule, posted locums positions that include a specific time frame for the assignment are in fact temporary opportunities. The employer may need coverage for maternity leave or a planned vacation, for example. Positions posted without an official end date or that include the term ‘ongoing’ in many cases have the potential to become stable, long-term job opportunities. Some nurse practitioners have been known to work in the same locums position for years, longer than other NPs may stay in a job termed permanent.

If you are on the hunt for a nurse practitioner position, keep locum tenens in the back of your mind. In many cases a temporary assignment is essentially a paid job interview. Approach an open-ended locums assignment as a chance to prove yourself. If you are a good match for the practice, you may be met with an offer for a permanent position, or the ability to maintain the assignment for as long as you like (oh yeah, and did I mention that with locums assignments housing and travel is typically comped?). At the very least, you will leave with connections helping you to further your quest for a permanent position. 


Are you looking for a locum tenens nurse practitioner or physician assistant position? Let a ThriveAP Career Advisor know and we’ll set you up with an opportunity!


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