International Locum Tenens

Last Updated on January 18, 2023

International locum tenens: How family medicine differs outside the U.S.

Are you one of those that have been thoroughly searching through the internet for information on international locum tenens? Do you often get confused by the conflicting information you see on it online? You need not search further as you will find the answer to this question in the article below.

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About International Locum Tenens Emergency

What International Medical Graduates Need to Know About Working Locum Tenens  - Weatherby Blog

Although 40,000 U.S. physicians work locum tenens domestically each year, a much smaller number of physicians work locums internationally. International locum tenens is a great option for doctors who want to expand their medical skills, experience different cultures, and explore the globe—all while earning decent money.

So, how do you know if international locum tenens is right for you? Here are six things to consider.

  1. There are a variety of locations to choose from.
    Whether you prefer tropical locations or mountain terrains, international assignments are available in a lot of areas around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, China, Canada, the UK, Virgin Islands, and the Pacific islands. Not only are these incredible destinations to explore, they also create an opportunity to see different patient populations, experience new ways of practicing medicine, and immerse yourself in a new culture.
  2. Assignments can range from two weeks to two years.
    Depending on the location, the length of an international assignment can range from a few weeks to over a year. Locations like New Zealand, Australia, and China are typically a year (or more) commitment. However, there are short-term options in areas like Canada, Bermuda, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and Cayman Islands, which offer assignments ranging from two weeks to two months. Whatever your schedule availability, there’s likely an international assignment that will fit your lifestyle.


What it's like to do international locum tenens with a family
  1. Many assignments come with generous paid time off.
    If you’re going to travel to a whole new country, you want to have time to explore the area. Luckily, a lot of international assignments come with a generous amount of vacation time—something not many stateside physicians have the luxury to enjoy. International locums gives you plenty of opportunity to explore your new surroundings and get to know the local culture.
  2. International assignments can offer a better work/life balance.
    According to a recent survey, more than half of physicians report feeling burned out and overworked. International assignments are a great solution for physicians looking to improve their work/life balance. That’s because the workload is often lighter for international locum tenens doctors, who typically work a standard eight-hour day, five days a week. Also, the patient load is generally lighter, with an international locums physician seeing around 20 patients per day, compared to the 50 patients a U.S. doctor might see.
  3. You can make a difference.
    Like domestic locum tenens, many international assignments are in rural areas in dire need of your medical services. Take New Zealand for example. The country relies heavily on doctors from other countries to cover shifts. With the growing demand for services, along with the country’s physician shortage, New Zealand is in need of doctors in urban areas as well. Working an international assignment not only gives you the opportunity to expand your clinical skills, it also lets you make a difference to patients around the world.
  4. The paperwork and credential process can be intensive.
    There are a lot of details to take care of when it comes to international assignments. The paperwork and credentialing process generally take three to six months to finalize, and at times requires a review of your educational background from middle school all the way through residency. It’s also important to keep in mind that a physician’s credentials may not transfer into full recognition, and a doctor with many years of experience in the U.S. may have supervision requirements abroad. However, expertise within a specialty can help.

International Locum Tenens

International locum tenens: Working as a locum physician in New Zealand

There are also more practical considerations to think about, including housing, travel coordination, transportation, and malpractice insurance. Arranging all this can feel overwhelming but working with an international locum tenens staffing agency will streamline the process, and some agencies will even take care of the practical details like housing and travel for you.

Is it right for you?
International locum tenens assignments require physicians who excel at what they do. Most of these assignments require you to be board certified and have recent, extensive, post-graduate training or experience (three years or more) in a comparable healthcare system.

Although traveling to another country, learning different clinical systems, and meeting all new people is exciting, it also requires some level of cultural adjustment. However, for many locums physicians, part of what they love is combining their passion for medicine with experiencing new places and meeting new people.

If you decide you’re ready to take on an international assignment, make sure to partner with a knowledgeable staffing agency with experience in international locum tenens to make the process easier.

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