Majority of locum tenens physicians avoid feelings of burnout

71% doing contract work experience little to no burnout

While burnout may be common in the ranks of physicians, there is one niche that has thus far avoided it: locum tenens.

A survey of 2,500 clinicians from found that burnout is rare for doctors doing contract work. Those in non-locum jobs had a burnout rate of 40% with 17% saying they are significantly or completely burned out, but 71% of locum tenens contractors reported little to no burnout.

Overall, physicians are not happy with where they are. At least 61% of physicians who said they are currently practicing report they are likely to look for a new position within the next year, and 27% of those who said they will look for a new job reported being dissatisfied with their current position in general.

According to the survey, the “currently not practicing” rate is increasing among younger physicians: 21% are under 40, 34% are in their 40s, and 24% are in their 50s.

Locum tenens is becoming a popular option. The study found that of those not currently working locum tenens but willing to consider it, 73% said they would be interested in local contract work, while 63% said they would be interested in work that required travel, and 55% said they’d like to work more hours via telehealth.

“The rise of the gig economy requires adaptation and transformation when it comes to workforce planning and management,” said Chris Franklin, president of, in a statement. “Organizations that embrace flexible models that are augmented by technology solutions will be well positioned to attract talent and improve clinician satisfaction, which can only improve health care outcomes.”

Many of the themes that have played out in health care were validated by these survey findings, including:

“The health care landscape is shifting, and physicians are not just moving with it – they are embracing it in an effort to create a better quality of life for themselves,” added Franklin. “The other thing that is changing somewhat dramatically is the perception of locum tenens, which has historically been stigmatized as a ‘path of last resort.’ According to our data, 96% of peers report that they value the contribution of the locum tenens clinicians working in their facilities.”

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