Dental Locuming: an Emerging Career Choice for Dentists
What is a locum?
The Latin phrase locum tenens means ‘placeholder’ or ‘substitute’. A locum or temporary is a medical professional who uses his or her skills to help underserved communities or fill in for professionals on holiday or maternity or medical leave. Locuming is an established practice with doctors and nurses, and is a fast-growing career choice for dentists and dental hygienists.
Explore new territory
Locuming gives a new dentist the chance to explore locations, develop a network, and get a wide range of experience before establishing his or her own practice. Stepping into multiple offices as a locum gives the new dentist a unique, hands-on look at multiple ways to run a dental business.
Semi-retired? Still want to work, but ready to transition ownership of your practice?
Locuming gives experienced dentists the opportunity to continue practicing dentistry at a pace and schedule they choose after they have sold their practice. It is possible to sell your practice at its highest value, and then locum, working when you choose throughout the year. Filling in for other dentists provides flexibility in semi-retirement.
Find the perfect associateship or partner
Some associates do not want to own their own practice, and dental temping can help those dentists find the best match for an associateship. Many locum jobs naturally evolve into associateships.
The need for locuming dentists has never been greater
Women currently constitute 50% of dental school classes. Many of these women will become both practice owners and mothers. The dental industry is seeing the need for temporary dentists to help cover parental leaves for both male and female practice owners. Locuming allows owners to bond with their children without sacrificing the development of their practice.
Vacation or medical leave
Vacations and dentist medical absences are other common reasons to hire a locum. We work really hard as practice owners and deserve to take the time off to reset or take care of much needed medical needs.
Continuity of care
Finding a locum that works well with your team and practice is beneficial to the continuity of care with patients. In dentistry we work in six-month cycles. Even one week without patient diagnosis can have consequences in your schedule and your patient health outcomes for the next two to three cycles. Inviting a locum to cover your leave ensures patients are cared for while you are away.
For the Locum
Benefits of being a dental locum include:
- “Test driving” different locations
- Business and clinical mentorship opportunities
- The opportunity to see how different practices are run
- Flexibility and freedom to work on your own terms
- No burden of management responsibilities
- No financial commitment of equipment, supplies, and real estate