Locum tenens - what does it mean?

Locum tenens doctor

If you are new to the medical industry or just finished training as a junior doctor you may hear other doctors mention "working as a locum doctor" or the phrase "locum tenens."

So what does locum tenens mean, why is it called locum tenens, and what does this have to do with medicine?

What does locum tenens mean?

The word "locum tenens" describes a person filling a shift for a time or temporarily taking on temporary employment. It is primarily used to describe doctors. Locum doctors do exactly that, they fill roles for a time or temporarily take the place of another.

Why is it called locum tenens?

Locum tenens is a Latin phrase meaning "place holder." The abbreviated form "locum" has become popular in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

What does the locum medical term locum mean?

The word locum in medicine is an abbreviation of "locum tenens" and is used to describe a 'locum' doctor. A locum doctor who fills part-time or temporary vacant shifts. For example, a locum doctor is a contractor who works in the place of a permanent doctor when that doctor is absent, or when a hospital or practice is short-staffed.

They can work solely as a locum doctor or they can pick up locum shifts around their permanent role. Doctors can start locum work after PGY 2 in Australia and PGY 3 in New Zealand.

What is a locum position?

Locum doctors fill roles or cover shifts so it could be anywhere between a couple of days of work to six months of work. Many doctors choose to locum because the flexibility helps them combat burnout, pursue their passions outside of medicine, or travel the country.

What is a locum agency?

A locum recruitment agency, like Medrecruit, is an agency that helps find doctors' locum roles.

When taking on locum gigs doctors often choose to work with a medical recruitment agency because the agency books their jobs, travel, and accommodation.

Medrecruit's service is completely free for doctors, we are paid a finders fee by the hospital or clinic for saving them time and providing the right candidate.

Thinking about working as a locum doctor? When you register with Medrecruit you get access to over 2,000 doctor jobs all over Australasia.

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Medrecruit Editorial Team
23 September 2022Article by Medrecruit Editorial TeamMedrecruit Editor