Over the past few years, urgent care facilities have been opening up across the United States with a twofold aim: to make healthcare more accessible and reduce the number of patients visiting the emergency room for non-life threatening conditions. According to the Urgent Care Association of America, the number of urgent care centers in the United States has grown by 23% since 2014.
This obviously means some big changes for healthcare professionals, especially family medicine and emergency room locum tenens physicians. “Due to its affordability and convenience, many patients with non-life threatening conditions are now opting for urgent care facilities over a lengthier trip to the ER,” says Rahul Vyas, a Senior Physician Recruiter within The Execu|Search Group’s Locum Tenens division.
However, patients aren’t the only ones seeing the value in urgent care. With on-site revenue projected to reach $1.7 million by 2021, an increasing number of hospitals and health systems along with medical groups and healthcare corporations are investing in this field. The result: while primary care practices and emergency rooms will always have a need for physicians, there is now an incredible demand for physicians in urgent care centers as well.
“These centers should be an obvious area for locum tenens to explore when looking for work,” advises Rahul. “This setting will be a lucrative area for growth in the years to come, and those who take advantage of this trend can look forward to wide array of career benefits.”
If you’re interested in exploring urgent care, consider these benefits of doing so:
Increased Flexibility: Rather than the standard five-day schedule, many urgent care physicians work three 12-hour shifts a week. This compressed work week not only gives you more time to focus on other assignments or responsibilities, but is also completely flexible. For example, you can change your schedule every week.
Extra Income: Its flexible nature also makes urgent care a great way for physicians to pick up additional shifts and earn supplemental income. This is especially true given the fact that it’s not unusual to find a dozen facilities in a 10-mile radius—making it very convenient to find locum tenens work close to home.
Less burnout: For emergency medicine physicians, urgent care facilities are typically less stressful since you aren’t typically seeing patients with life-threatening conditions. For primary care and family medicine physicians, this setting allows you to focus on providing clinical care without the rigor or administrative burden of your own practice.
Keep procedural skills current: If you want to move away from hospital work but are concerned about keeping your procedural skills current, urgent care can be a great option for you. While you won’t be seeing emergent cases, you will still perform some procedures like x-rays, suturing, and splinting.