Newly licensed physical and occupational therapists going to work for hospitals, nursing homes, and private clinics is very standard. Yet despite these three settings being the most dominant on the new therapist’s radar, there are some pretty unconventional settings as well. Making them even more unconventional is pursuing them as a locum tenens provider.
Like a locum tenens physician, a locum therapist works as an independent contractor providing temporary service in place of a full-time. One of the primary benefits of working as a locum tenens physical therapist is freedom. Locums have the freedom to work in all sorts of settings as they see fit. Below are some of those previously mentioned unconventional settings.
There is a misconception that one must be in the military to provide healthcare to service members. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, plenty of clinicians and allied staff providing service on military bases and at VA clinics are civilians. This includes therapists and occupational therapists.
Locum tenens therapists have an advantage because they can fill short-term needs in military facilities. They have full and direct access to patients as well. Perhaps the only downside is learning to work within the military rank system.
Adult Day Care Centers
The adult day care center is an emerging healthcare facility designed to meet the special needs of aging baby boomers. Like a day care center for children, adult day care is designed to provide daily care and supervision to adults who don’t necessarily need to live in an assisted environment but still can’t be left to care for themselves during the day.
What is surprising about the centers is that many of them offer both physical and occupational therapy. They work to help seniors live more fulfilling lives rather than simply providing companionship and a watchful eye during the day. This is a great environment for locum therapists who want to truly make a difference in the lives of seniors.
As employers seek to reduce the cost of providing employee healthcare benefits, some are turning to opening their own primary care and therapy clinics. These are clinics that tend to offer baseline services at a far cheaper cost than paying for the same services elsewhere. Companies like Google and Apple are offering occupational and physical therapy alongside primary care in their clinics.
Permanent placement jobs in this environment are hard to come by. They pay well and they are free of the politics of medicine. Still, employed therapists take time off for vacations, maternity leave, etc. That is when locum providers step in.
Thanks to changes in how Medicare part B is administered, home healthcare companies can now offer physical and occupational therapy to Medicare patients. This affords yet another opportunity for locum tenens providers. They can look for assignments with home healthcare companies looking to temporarily fill staffing holes.
This sort of arrangement is ideal for therapists who enjoy working with a variety of people over a short period of time. Home-based care maximizes the therapist’s exposure to different clients and offers the opportunity to have a real impact in a limited time frame.
Working as a locum tenens therapist is unconventional enough. But there are some very unconventional settings through which locum tenens work can be realized. You do not need to work in a hospital or private clinic to enjoy a long and fulfilling therapist career. There are plenty of locum tenens physical therapy jobs available all over the world. You can be as unconventional as you want to be with the right locum assignments.