As a physician without any experience in a hospital emergency department, would you be willing to take locum work down at the neighborhood ER? We ask because the demand for emergency medicine locums only continues to grow with each passing quarter. Hospitals are desperately in need of ER physicians to cover just about every shift. And until the shifts are covered, locums will be in a very strong position.

What is driving the need for so many emergency medicine locums? First is the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Original estimates suggested that 30 million new patients would be added to healthcare insurance rolls as a result of reform. The real number has come in at about 10 million, but it is still significant. Many of these new patients still rely on the emergency department for routine medical care because they do not have regular physicians.

A second factor to consider is the gradually aging American population. People who live longer tend to access emergency department care more often due to household accidents, car crashes, and so on. Things on this front are only expected to get worse as the baby boom generation enters its first wave of retirements.

Having said that, there are lots of excellent reasons for taking emergency medicine locum work. The more obvious among them include opportunities to make extra money and to travel. But there are additional reasons we like to call ‘hidden treasures’. Here are just a few of those hidden treasures:

  • Constant Challenges – Very few environments are as challenging for the doctor as emergency medicine. It’s absolutely true what they say: there is no routine day in the ER. Any doctor feeling as if he or she is stuck in a rut, whether as an internist or specialist, can get a little bit of that excitement back by working in the ER.
  • Raw Medicine – How would you like to practice medicine without having to worry about making payroll, serving on hospital committees, or dealing with any of the other challenges typical of 9-to-5 employment? You can, by taking emergency medicine locum work. The emergency room is raw medicine from start to finish. Practicing as a locum gets you involved in the trenches on every shift without any worries about all that other stuff.
  • Incomparable Experience – Emergency medicine locums who have no intention of making locum work their careers can still benefit from the unparalleled experience emergency departments offer. The average ER physician will be exposed to a larger variety of cases in one year than most others will see throughout their entire careers. There is simply no substitute for the broad range of experience one can gain in the ER.
  • A Chance to Innovate – Believe it or not, some of the most revolutionary innovations in medicine originated in the emergency department. Working as an emergency medicine locum is an opportunity to be part of innovations that could shape the future of medicine.
  • An Opportunity to Teach – Experienced doctors who decide to take a turn in the ER have an opportunity to teach younger doctors just getting their feet wet. Make no mistake; emergency medicine locum work is very attractive to new doctors looking to earn a paycheck while they determine what they want to do with their careers. There are as many new doctors as veterans in the typical ER.

Taking work as an emergency medicine locum could be career changing. If the opportunity presents itself, you might want to take advantage of it. Those hidden treasures are awaiting discovery.

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