Locum Family Physician: Cornerstone of Community Care

Those of a certain age may think of family physicians and conjure up the Norman Rockwell image of an experienced and kind – if somewhat rumpled – gentleman of a certain age treating patients in a small office surrounded by medical textbooks and rudimentary tools of the profession. 

In reality, family physicians are as varied as the communities they serve – working in rural private practices, as solo-practitioners, in hospitals and in multi-specialty clinics. 

Family physicians provide comprehensive care to patients of all genders and all ages, adapting their skills and procedures to meet the needs of all. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, on average, family physicians have 82 patient encounters each week. That’s a lot of patient care! And no one patient visit is exactly like another. 

In addition to diagnosing and treating illness, family physicians also provide preventative care, including routine checkups, health-risk assessments, immunization and screening tests and health/lifestyle education for patients covering a wide range of topics. 

Studies have shown that access to a regular primary care physician/family physician has been linked to: 

  • Lower infant mortality 
  • Higher birth weights 
  • Immunization rates above national standards 
  • Lower overall healthcare costs 
  • Longer, healthier lives. 

But your family physician also offers so much more. Family physicians are advocates for their patients’ health and social needs – while also striving for healthy communities, serving as champions for policies that support public health and effective health care systems, and influencing public opinion. 

In this way, physicians are uniquely qualified with the knowledge, skills, interests and connections that allow them to influence the lives of their patients, as well as the communities they serve. It’s no wonder that most family physicians are looked upon as the unofficial cornerstone of their communities. Because of this, the choices they make can result in effective change for the areas they serve now and for years to come. 

But all of those responsibilities can take a toll. Studies have shown that locum tenens physicians can be key in supporting family physicians in rural areas. Locum physicians give family physicians the opportunity to take maternity leave, pursue continue education and take time off for their physical and mental health. Without locum support, family physicians are more prone to burnout and may put communities in a position where they are unable to retain medical professionals. 

In that regard, your role as a locum tenens family physician helps provide continuity of care for patients and families – now and for years to come – as you stand in the gap for family physicians who choose to provide healthcare and leadership for their communities. 

Whether you’re a family physician looking for locum support, or a family physician looking to take on a locum assignment, we can help.