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Within this page, you will find Industry Perspective blogs written by the UCA Corporate Support Partners (CSP); Insights from UCA CEO Laurel Stoimenoff, PT, CHC; Practice Management blogs to help you better manage center operations; and bonus UCA education in Educational Insights.

INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES: Using Locum Tenens to Better Serve Patients and Expand Service

Posted: Dec 19, 2018
Comments: 0

By Bill Heller, Weatherby Healthcare

Urgent care centers operate at a fast pace and the need for more of this style of healthcare is growing quickly. According to the 2017 Urgent Care Association benchmarking report, 90 percent of urgent care centers anticipated growth in 2016 and 73 percent acquired or built a new location. Urgent care centers are expanding around the country and often find themselves short-staffed or in need of additional staff to open new locations.

Locums let you expand quickly

Utilizing locum tenens physicians is a simple way for urgent care centers to expand their location offerings or services. A locum tenens physician can show up and work for a few shifts or stay for weeks or months until a permanent provider can be hired.

We have worked with a number of facilities that will bring a locums into an existing facility just to get them familiar with their processes so they can be sent to open a new location. The ability to bring in a locums lets urgent care centers be much more nimble as they expand to new locations and communities. We can often have a locum tenens physician ready to work in a matter of days, while recruiting for a permanent position may take many months.

Finding the right locums physician for your urgent care center

Urgent care centers have unique needs and have the ability to hire family medicine, emergency medicine, or internal medicine/pediatric physicians to treat their patients. Additionally, urgent care work is usually faster than what a lot of physicians are used to. They see three to five patients an hour and must be able to adjust to constantly changing conditions.

When looking at potential locum tenens physicians look for these attributes:

  • Someone good with technology and EMRs. Urgent care providers need to adapt quickly to new EMRs and technology so that patients can be see quickly.
  • Good bedside manner and communication skills. Patients come to an urgent care center because they need immediate care. A physician who can make them feel comfortable and heard goes a long way toward helping them recover.
  • Board certified. Board certification helps ensure physicians have the knowledge and experience to handle whatever might come their way.
  • Able to handle higher patient loads. Urgent care needs to be quick, and the pace of a center may be higher than what a physician is used to dealing with. The ability to see a high number of patients without getting flustered will make working in an urgent care much easier.

Onboarding locums

Most healthcare facilities have robust plans for onboarding permanent physicians who join their teams. A good onboarding strategy results in physicians who feel welcomed, understand what is expected of them, and know where to turn if they have questions, so they can provide the best possible care for their patients.

Locums are often only at a facility for a short time, this can be especially true for urgent care centers. It’s important that a locums doctor can come in and be ready to work. For the physician to be successful, a good onboarding program is key. Ensure your onboarding is ready to go with these tips:

  • Planning before the assignment. Before the physician arrives in your facility, make sure they are coming into a good situation. Notify staff of start dates and assignment lengths. Send the physician copies of key policies and procedures as well as a job description for the position. Finally, have someone ready to be their go-to for questions and act as a guide.
  • Focus on the first day. Urgent care onboarding can range from a few hours to a couple days. Make sure you include a facility tour, showing them where to find supplies, equipment, sample medications, and forms. Also, plan time to train them on your EMR.
  • Ongoing onboarding. After the first day, don’t forget to keep the onboarding going. The physician may need to know how to do billing and coding, sign off on medical records or something as simple as making phone calls. The more effective a physician can be in the logistical side of your center will make them more prepared to see your patients. 
  • Check in regularly. After onboarding is complete, make sure you have someone checking in with the locums occasionally to make sure no new questions have come up. This also helps to make the physician feel more welcome in your facility.

Physicians want to work in urgent care

Urgent care is a highly competitive field. There are a ton of jobs out there and a lot of providers looking to work locums. It’s important you find the ones that are going to improve your practice and serve your patients well.

Have more questions about how locums can help fill your urgent care staffing needs? Check out this resource for facilities looking to hire locum tenens providers.


An avid thrill seeker, Bill Heller makes the most of living in the Sunshine State. He enjoys skydiving, scuba diving, motorcycling, and whitewater rafting. But he has been just as adventurous in his career. Early on, he was in charge of the operations for several nurse staffing companies. When he decided he needed even more of a challenge, he took the lead on launching a new nurse staffing brand.

Bill joined the CHG Healthcare family in 2007 and has since led our travel imaging and radiation therapy divisions and served as president of RNnetwork. He was named the president of Weatherby Healthcare in 2015.


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