"Anecdotally, locum tenens physicians are driven by three key factors: flexibility; travel; no office politics," says Britton.
Williams represents a smaller proportion of the type of provider hospitals hire temporarily (general surgery), but Williams says over the years he's noticed more turnover at rural hospitals.
"It's harder to attract a high quality general surgeon and keep them there," he says. "A lot of times I hear about pretty good places [to practice], but a year later they're advertising. In rural areas and smaller hospitals, it's a revolving door and there seems to be a lack of commitment on behalf of surgeons."
When that "lack of commitment" happens, Williams is happy to step in because practicing in a rural setting is what he prefers.
"I strive to be a complete surgeon, not just a warm body," he says. "I liked the slower pace and the bread and butter type general surgery."
A Place Holder
While the use of locum tenens physicians has its roots in rural medicine, the survey results show that it has moved into metro areas that are facing pressure with the transformation of healthcare delivery.