Each month I will include a blog entry answering some of the most common questions I get from readers about locum tenens as a nurse practitioner. Feel free to comment any questions you have or email me at travelingNP.firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Would I be able to change specialties while working in locum tenens?
Many people assume that just because you are a Family Nurse Practitioner and have only worked in primary care, that you cannot work in a different setting. While working in locum tenens, as long as you are open to learning, you gain a variety of skills set. There are often urgent care and occupational health facilities that are more than happy to hire a locum tenens nurse practitioner that has only worked in primary care. In this case, they are willing to work with you to adjust to the new facility type.
If you have work experience solely in a specialty, such as orthopedics or dermatology, and you want to start working in a family practice; you will have to consider yourself as a ‘beginner’. I know nurse practitioners that transitioned from specialty practice to family medicine and they were easily overwhelmed. The reason is because usually with specialty practice you are only treating one problem vs in primary care you are addressing several problems in a limited amount of time. In this case, I would recommend you find a locum tenens placement that will start you off slow and has a long orientation process.
Let’s say you want to jump from primary care to a specialty such as Urology. Depending on the site, they are willing to hire you if you commit to a long-term assignment (likely 6 months-1 year+), since they will be providing you with plenty of training. Anything is possible in locum tenens, just be sure to ask the right questions!