It can be rewarding for physicians to provide longitudinal care—to watch patients age healthfully and to be an integral part of their lives. On the other hand, it can be equally rewarding to help a person who needs urgent attention; to quickly solve an acute clinical problem and provide definitive treatment. Each provides satisfaction in its own way, but urgent care work offers many benefits beyond traditional primary care practice.
Urgent care occupies the space between emergency medicine and chronic disease care.
Fewer than a third of primary care physicians offer after-hours coverage as part of their practice. This leaves patients with acute care needs with essentially one option: the emergency department. However, most people do not need tertiary or critical care medicine. They simply need to see a competent physician in a timely manner that can correctly diagnose and treat their illness. Urgent care physicians play a vital role in U.S. healthcare.
Urgent care work offers clinical and intellectual challenges.
Yearly physical exams and follow-up appointments help pay the bills, but they do not provide the intellectual challenge that most physicians crave. In urgent care work, every issue is an acute issue (and follow-up is usually the purview of the person’s primary care provider). Physicians who work in urgent care may find themselves suturing lacerations, managing bone fractures, or triaging heart attack and stroke. While many of the core chief complaints will be the same from day-to-day, urgent care centers see a wide variety of acute care issues, keeping practitioners on their toes.
Urgent care centers provide great opportunities for locum tenens work.
The recent growth of urgent care centers across the country has been remarkable. These facilities are looking for competent physicians to fill various positions, both full-time and temporary. Locum tenens providers have an excellent opportunity to pick up extra work if they so choose on a schedule that works for them. Unlike shifts in an emergency department that can vary from week to week, urgent care shifts provide steady and predictable work hours. Increased demand means increased pay. Urgent care providers—especially locum tenens physicians—can earn handsomely from urgent care work, particularly in certain geographic regions.
To learn more about urgent care work as a locum tenens provider, contact a recruiter: