How does locums tenens work for an orthopedic surgeon?

Nicholas Kusnezov, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who practices in Tennessee, shares his tips about how to achieve success as a locum tenens orthopedic surgeon.

Talking as an orthopedic surgeon who has been actively and efficiently engaged in locums for the previous few years, I really feel that I’ve a strong understanding of the intricacies of orthopedic locums and am uniquely certified to share my expertise.

Why do services want locums?

Portrait of Dr. Kusnezov, an orthopedic surgeon
Dr. Kusnezov

The place do orthopedic surgeons work locums? Nearly anyplace a full-time employees orthopedic surgeon works. Services want locums for quite a lot of causes. This will likely embrace easy name protection throughout a deliberate trip, periodic protection as a result of lack of a supplier, and even as a type of “tryout” for services looking for a extra everlasting place sooner or later. In consequence, there’ll all the time be a necessity for locum suppliers.

What forms of procedures do locum tenens orthopedic surgeons do?

Locums is enticing for a lot of causes. As a locum tenens orthopedic surgeon, you possibly can choose assignments requiring procedures that you just take pleasure in however that you could be in any other case not have as a lot publicity to in your main apply. You’ve got the chance to carry out no matter procedures you’re certified to do and which you are feeling comfy with. In consequence, this may occasionally contain easy elective procedures comparable to carpal tunnel releases or outpatient low-acuity traumas like ankle fracture fixation, or IT could vary to extra high-acuity trauma, comparable to musculoskeletal poly trauma, complex periprosthetic fractures, or joint substitute surgical procedure.

Quote from Dr. Kusnezov about choosing the procedures you take on as a locum orthopedic surgeon

I’d warning you that, regardless of being a locum and doubtlessly having no follow-up with these sufferers, it’s best to solely decide to procedures you’re certified and cozy with performing to make sure the very best affected person outcomes. Personally, having in depth expertise with high-acuity trauma and complicated joint reconstruction surgical procedure, I’m comfy managing something that presents to my trauma middle. Nonetheless, many of those sufferers and instances could require staged procedures and extended aftercare; due to this fact, IT is paramount to ascertain and preserve open communication to facilitate optimum affected person care.

Ensure you’re prepared: How you can put together for a locum tenens orthopedic project

Are there continuity of care points?

As you possibly can think about, there could also be continuity of care points as a locums surgeon if you don’t anticipate and plan for IT. This is applicable not solely to these sufferers you’d look after throughout your project but additionally to sufferers at your main apply.

IT is paramount to make sure continuity of care to your sufferers, though it’s possible you’ll not personally be seeing them again relying on the construction and time dedication for the given locum project. This may be achieved numerous methods however is only by direct communication with the native orthopedist or doctor assistants with whom your sufferers will probably be following up.

How one doctor ensures continuity of care whereas working locums.

Dr. Kusnezov performs orthopedic surgery as a locum tenens physician
Dr. Nicholas Kuznesov within the OR

How can orthopedic surgeons preserve continuity of care when working locums?

I preserve open communication with these people for all assignments I undertake. At a minimal, this entails speaking post-operative restrictions, follow-up, and the general recreation plan to your sufferers. Moreover, this implies ensuring that you’re obtainable in some regard for questions concerning care and even unanticipated issues that will come up. IT is simple as a locum doctor to jot down off affected person aftercare, provided that this isn’t a requirement, however I’d strongly encourage lively engagement in your sufferers’ care to foster high quality and guarantee the very best outcomes.

Quote from Dr. Kusnezov about doing aftercare as a locum orthopedic surgeon

Moreover, relying on how a lot time you decide to locum assignments, you need to be sure that the sufferers at your main apply will not be uncared for because of your absence. This entails, as I touched on beforehand, speaking a recreation plan to your companions or mid-levels which could be successfully carried out in your absence, and once more, being obtainable for any questions or potential unexpected points that will come up in your absence. Orthopedics, like different surgical specialties, is a full-time job. 

Extra from Dr. Kusnezov on this subject:

Article up to date March 21, 2024.

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