Frustrations of Starting in Locum Tenens

I have been working as a traveling nurse practitioner for a while now, that I forgot how frustrating it could be to initially work in locum tenens.


  • Tons of paperwork: Each time you accept a new assignment you have to be credentialed with the new site. This requires filling out tons of paperwork and providing copies of your licenses, vaccination records, certifications, references, etc. If you are also working with a new agency for the first time, expect your paperwork to double. In addition, you will have to do a drug test for both the agency and site.


  • Last minute: There will be times you won’t know your exact start date until 1 week out or less. There will be times you wont know where you will be living until the morning you leave. It may be scary at first, but part of working in locum tenens is being okay with the unknown. After a while, you get used to knowing things last minute.


  • Licensing issues: Is your license taking longer than you thought? Maybe you didn’t realize you also need a prescribing license, in addition to the RN and ARNP licenses in that state. Some agencies have really good licensing teams that can get in touch with the state board of nursing and expedite the processing of your licenses.


  • Recruiters: Not having a good relationship with your recruiter can make your locum tenens experience awful. Your recruiter should be your advocate. If they are putting you down and not being helpful, ask for a new recruiter!


I think the above four topics are probably the most frustrating aspects of starting a career in locum tenens. After a while, you get used to those things and realize the benefits of being a traveler outweigh the nuisances. Also, keep in mind that being a traveling nurse practitioner isn’t for everyone.

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