Why Consider a Locum Tenens Job With IHS?

Locum tenens in healthcare has existed for decades.  In the not too distant past, physicians who elected to be a locum tenens provider used to be made of two groups: those who were nearing the end of their career and were approaching retirement, and doctors who had just finished training.

These two groups of medical professionals still account for 60%[1] of those who accept locum tenens or temporary assignments. However, there have been some changes, including the addition of people who want to practice out of their regular settings and practitioners who want to explore other locations. Some also want to serve patients, particularly those in areas where medical service is rare.

Working With the IHS

The Indian Health Service, or IHS, is among the organizations that look for physicians willing to work as locum tenens. IHS serves almost 600 Alaska Natives and American Indians. IHS is a recruiter of healthcare professionals, especially those in the middle of their career searching for a potential career change.

Working to provide Indian service has many benefits, including providing care to members of tribes. This group is underserved when it comes to medical attention. In fact, deaths caused by diabetes and cirrhosis outnumber other ethnic groups.[2] One of the reasons for the high death rate is lack of access to healthcare.

More Benefits

During the time a physician looks after the patients, the experience in working with IHS allows physicians to interact with different cultures. There are chances of witnessing celebrations, such as the Independence Day Pow Wow where there are tribal dance contests and rodeos. What’s more, IHS has facilities that are located in different parts of the country, including Idaho, Nevada, South Dakota, Alaska, and Arizona.[3]

Since people work to receive compensation, accepting locum tenens assignments for Indian service can give competitive compensation packages, including lodging, salary, and travel. At the same time, physicians get more personal time to explore a favorite hobby or interest.

The schedule is more flexible because medical providers can work when they want. If they need to take time off, they do not have to accept any locums task. Such a benefit is not always possible with a full-time job in the healthcare industry.


[1] http://www.nejmcareercenter.org/article/locum-tenens-lifestyle-opportunities-attracting-more-physicians/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2567901/

[3] https://www.ihs.gov/locations/

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