What to Expect with Locum Tenens Housing While on Assignment

For many providers looking to take their first locum tenens assignment in remote areas of the country, availability and quality of housing are very common concerns. Images of sleeping in an igloo, or perhaps a cabin teetering off the edge of a cliff in Charlie Chaplin’s “Gold Rush” may come to mind.

But worry not! No matter where you go on assignment, whether you’ve flown into Bush Alaska or driven to a small town in Eastern Montana, we will coordinate housing that is safe and secure. In this article, we’ll review what to expect with locum tenens housing while on assignment.

With the wide range of locations we staff, the housing provided depends completely on where you are going. Some small villages offer housing that is connected to the clinic. Others have a private house nearby. For short assignments that last for under a week, you may get a hotel reservation. What you can be certain of is that our account executive who staffs you for the specific position will be able to answer any questions you have about housing. We strongly recommend that you ask any questions you have and feel confident in the housing provided before agreeing to take an assignment.

(Please note that the information provided in this article is intended for Wilderness Medical Staffing contracted healthcare providers. However, the housing may be similar if you work with a different staffing agency or through the medical facility.)

Do I Need to Secure My Own Locum Tenens Housing?

As a healthcare provider, you can expect to have your locum tenens housing secured and paid for. In almost every case, WMS will work with the facility to coordinate your lodging. No matter the duration or location of your assignment, whether you are working a weekend and staying in a hotel room or living for six months in a private house, it will be provided to you as a benefit of working the assignment.

Exceptions to this rule are for some assignments that require a provider who already lives in the area. In those cases, we will only staff providers who live near enough to the job to return home every night.

Who Pays for the Locum Tenens Housing?

As the staffing agency, our clients pay for housing for our providers. Our role is to coordinate with the facility for your housing. We will send your travel itinerary to our client so they know when you will arrive. The facility will often either own or lease housing that is dedicated to traveling medical professionals like yourself. For shorter assignments, or in areas that have commercial housing options readily available, you may stay in a hotel, motel, Airbnb, or similar location. In any case, the housing you have will be decided before your assignment is confirmed and will be paid for.

locum tenens housingWhat Will My Locum Tenens Housing Be Like When I’m on Assignment?

In the remote and rural destinations we staff, lodging options will vary widely! We can only give you specifics for what to expect when we place you on a specific assignment. We do verify that your housing will have the following qualities:

  • Safe and secure. That means all doors and windows lock.
  • Heat in your housing so you stay at a comfortable temperature while indoors.
  • Clean water and working plumbing.
  • Sanitary and clean when you arrive.
  • Quiet enough to allow you to sleep during the nighttime hours.
  • Reasonable distance from the clinic you will be working at.

If for some reason, your housing doesn’t meet the qualifications listed above, or a repair needs to be made to the housing, we are committed to helping resolve the issue.

Can I Bring My Spouse, Partner, or Kids on Assignment?

You can often bring your spouse or partner with you on assignment. In cases where the housing is connected to the clinic, or shared with other medical providers, your spouse or partner may not be able to accompany you. We encourage our contracted locum tenens healthcare providers to talk to your account executive as soon as possible if you would like to bring a spouse/partner or other family members on assignment.

Many of our providers like to bring their whole family along to their locum tenens assignments. Children may sometimes accompany you on assignments when the housing provided is separate from the clinic where you will be working. Housing provided is typically meant to sustain one person (you) comfortably, so keep that in mind when you are looking for options. If your family requires more than 2 bedrooms, it is unlikely that the housing provided will be suitable for your entire family. Again, you’ll want to discuss additional travelers with your account executive upfront. Providers are responsible for covering any additional costs for family members, such as additional airline tickets, baggage fees, etc.

Can I Bring My Pet to Locum Tenens Housing?

Pets are often welcome on assignments, but not always. Some of the locations we staff have a strict no-pet policy. Others will accept pets in their housing with a nonrefundable (or refundable) pet deposit. Still, others will accept pets with no deposit required! Your best practice will be to mention you would like to bring your pet to your WMS representative as soon as possible. The likelihood of your pet being welcome will depend on their species, size, and how many pets you have.

Keep in mind, that you can expect to be responsible for any travel or housing costs that arise from your bringing your pet with you. Any damage caused by your pet will be your responsibility.

What If I’m Not Happy with the Housing Provided?

Sometimes the housing provided at a location does not meet your needs. Perhaps you travel with pets, and the location isn’t pet-friendly. Perhaps you want to bring your whole family, but the assigned housing is connected to the clinic. In those cases, you may have to organize your housing or simply pass on the assignment.

Many of the communities we staff are very small and do not have commercial housing options available, so finding alternative housing in those locations can be difficult or even impossible. It is very important that you work out these details with your account executive before signing the contract for the assignment. In most cases, you will be responsible for your housing costs if you do not accept the housing provided.

What is the Check-in Process for Locum Tenens Housing?

Our Operations team will ensure that you depart for your assignment with all the information you need for a seamless check-in process. If you are staying in a hotel, we will send you all the reservation information so all you have to do is give the front desk clerk your name when you arrive.

If you are staying in private locum tenens housing owned by the facility, you will be given the housing contact’s name and phone number for any questions about their check-in process.

Will I be Able to Cook Meals in Locum Tenens Housing?

For any assignment that exceeds 2-3 days, our team will be sure to secure housing that has at least a kitchenette with a sink and microwave. Exceptions to this rule are if you work in an industrial setting or closed campus where meals are provided in a cafeteria. In most cases, you will be responsible for purchasing and preparing your own food. In those cases, we will make every effort to avail you lodging that has a working kitchen.

Do I Need to Bring My Own Linens or Towels to Locum Tenens Housing?

Linens, towels, and pillows are usually provided but you may want to bring your own if you have a preference.

Will I Have to Share Housing with Another Provider?

The vast majority of housing provided for WMS locum tenens assignments is completely private. In some cases, for locations that depend heavily on locum tenens providers, shared housing is provided. You may need to share a kitchen, common space, or bathroom with other medical professionals who have traveled for work in the same facility.

In shared locum tenens housing situations, you will still have a bedroom door that locks. Usually, an effort is made by our clients to ensure that providers who share housing are all the same gender. Feel free to ask your account executive for details about shared housing situations, and air any concerns you have. Our highest priority is that you arrive at any assignment feeling safe and comfortable, knowing what to expect.


Many times, WMS contracted locum tenens providers enjoy the opportunity to travel to new, adventurous locations for assignments. Having the housing set up for you before you arrive can help you to settle into your new location and focus on helping the communities we serve.

If you have questions for us about locum tenens housing while on assignment, please contact us. We’re always happy to assist.


Learn more about locum tenens

Collaborative Plans for Physician Assistants in Alaska

Are you a physician assistant? Are you interested in working in the State of Alaska? In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about collaborative plans for physician assistants in Alaska.

While collaborative plans (or similar agreements) may be called something different from state to state, such as a supervision agreement (MT), delegation agreement (WA), or collaborative practice agreement (ID), we’ll focus specifically on Alaska’s collaborative plans.

Physician assistants who work with Wilderness Medical Staffing will have our team to guide you through this process. If you’re a PA who is working independently or perhaps with a different agency, we’ve also provided helpful information for you to get your plan submitted so you can start your position!

collaborative plansWhat is a Collaborative Plan?

According to the Alaska State Medical Board, a collaborative plan “is an agreement between a physician and a physician assistant (PA). The plan details the nature of the relationship by asking the physician to define the PA’s scope of practice, practice location, method of referrals, etc. There are minimum standards set by law; however, the plans can be customized to meet the needs of the practice, the physician, and the PA. For example, the law details the prescriptive authority for PAs but the physician may wish to restrict the PA from writing prescriptions in that practice.”

The physician must agree to certain responsibilities, including being available for referrals and consultations and being an educational resource for the PA.

There must also be communication between the supervising physician and the physician assistant for quality assurance. In addition, the Alaska State Medical Board requires a “periodic method of assessment.”

You can find additional guidelines for Alaska State collaborative plans here.

How Do I Get a Collaborative Plan?

Please note that this may be different if you are working independently or with another staffing agency. You will want to have an up-to-date version of your CV ready to send in along with the collaborative plan. In addition, you need to have a valid license in Alaska, as you will need to include your license number on the application. Note that you must not be under sanctions from the Alaska State Board of Medicine. In addition, as a PA, your practice may not exceed the scope of the physician’s.

If you’re working with WMS, your operations associate will facilitate getting a copy of the collaborative plan to you via a document tool. Please note that you must have a collaborative file with each facility you work at.

If you’re filling out the collaborative plan independently, you can find the document here, from the Alaska State Medical Board.

How Do I Fill Out a Collaborative Plan?

You’ll need to enter any information about your role as a physician assistant including contact information and licensing information. You’ll also need to fill out any fields relevant to the assignment you are planning to work at, such as start dates and assignment location. (It should only take you a few minutes to complete.)

We have a sample collaborative plan on our website with information on what you’ll need to fill out as a physician assistant.

From there, the collaborative plan will need to be sent to (either electronically or via postal mail) and filled out by the collaborating physician and an alternate physician. Alternate physicians are required for the collaborative plan to be approved. For providers who are working with Wilderness Medical Staffing, we’ll facilitate getting the physician’s office to complete their portion.

If the collaborative plan needs to be mailed to the collaborating physician’s office, we will provide our contracted providers with additional details about how to do that.

If you’re filling out the collaborative plan independently and the physician’s office prefers a mailed copy of the collaborative plan, you’ll need to mail the copy to their office. We recommend sending it overnight for the fastest turnaround of the documents.

collaborative plansHow Do I Submit the Collaborative Plan?

Some physicians prefer to mail the hard copies of collaborative plans and others prefer to submit them electronically. The Alaska Board of Medicine will accept them either way.

If you are working through Wilderness Medical Staffing for your assignment and the forms are being completed electronically, once all parties have completed their portion of the application, we will submit it to the Alaska State Medical Board on your behalf. For mailed forms, the physician’s office will mail the application to the Alaska State Medical Board.

If you’re filling out the collaborative plan independently, you will need to confirm that the physician’s office has submitted them electronically or mailed them to the Alaska State Medical Board along with a copy of your CV and the $125 fee.

It’s important to note that collaborative plans must be filed with the Alaska State Medical Board no later than 14 days from the beginning date of employment.

What does it cost to submit a collaborative plan?

Each collaborative plan costs $125 to submit. For WMS contracted providers, our clients cover the cost of your collaborative plan for WMS assignments.

If you are not contracted through WMS, you’ll likely need to pay this fee through the Alaska State Medical Board. The current form includes billing information, so you can easily pay for the application upon submittal, however, it is recommended that you DO NOT email credit card information. If you include your credit card information for payment, we recommend mailing or faxing it instead.

How long does it take for a collaborative plan to be approved?

This number can and does vary, but we typically see collaborative plans approved within 4-6 weeks of submission.

Once the physician assistant’s collaborative plan has been approved by the Alaska State Medical Board, it will be posted to your professional license.

At Wilderness Medical Staffing, our team is well-versed in assisting physician assistants to get collaborative plans completed and submitted. If you’re a PA and you’re interested in working on an assignment in Alaska, we encourage you to reach out to our recruiting team or apply to our open assignments from our Open Jobs page.

Now Staffing Locum and Permanent Positions

Preparing Food for Your Rural Locum Tenens Assignment

The locums lifestyle offers variety, flexibility, travel, adventure, and some interesting challenges! Providers who accept assignments to remote locations for WMS are well-aware of this, and many have developed highly refined strategies for creative packing and resource management in the field.

For providers new to WMS, or for those who haven’t yet experienced some of the more remote locations where we staff, we thought it would be helpful to delve into the most basic of questions after a long day at work: “What’s for dinner?”

We’re going beyond dinner, though. You’ll be thinking of food long before that question comes up, so we’ll start at the beginning by telling you many of the things we’ve learned about preparing food for your rural locum tenens assignment!

(Please note that this article will be especially helpful for now WMS providers who are going on assignment. However, if you’re new to locum tenens or even if you’re working with a different staffing agency that staffs in rural locations in the United States, this article should give you some good advice, so you’re prepared.)

Position Descriptions: What to Expect Before Arrival

At Wilderness Medical Staffing, for each assignment, the contracted provider will receive a “position description.” This document outlines many of the details of the assignment, including information about what to expect before you arrive.

If you’ve accepted an assignment in one of the smaller communities WMS supports, you’ve already seen a position description and may have some sense of what you’ll find when you arrive.

Understand the Food Situation at the Location

Some rural and remote communities have a range of grocery stores and restaurants, and food options won’t be a challenge to navigate. Other locations will have very limited choices for buying groceries, possibly few-to-no restaurants, and food may be quite expensive. (This is especially true in Alaska bush communities where all provisions must be flown in from a larger hub.)

The first thing to determine, well before you travel, is exactly what the food situation will be, and how you should prepare for it. This is particularly important if you’re going to be working in this location for an extended time. You can discuss this with your account executive or ask to talk with another provider who’s recently worked in that location.

Alaska isn’t the only state with small communities and limited food-buying or restaurant options. Rural communities in the other states where WMS staffs, such as Montana, could have similar issues. Again, know your options before you travel. (Some of our providers drive to their assignments, and driving offers choices that flying doesn’t, so the method of travel is another variable to consider as you make your food plan.)

Don’t assume that you’ll find all your favorite foods or brands in small communities. Many of the small towns and villages where providers work are fortunate to have one grocery store.

Location, Lodging, and Food For Your Rural Locum Tenens Assignment

rural locum tenens housing For longer assignments, providers are typically housed in an apartment. Occasionally, especially if the assignment is relatively short, the accommodation might be in a hotel, or even a private room within the healthcare facility. In these two scenarios cooking facilities might be a microwave, fridge, and coffee maker.

If you’re housed in an apartment, you can generally expect to have a full kitchen. You likely will not have a dishwasher, but you would typically expect a full-size fridge/freezer, microwave, stove/oven, basic dishes and cookware, coffee maker, utensils, and at least minimum stock of dishwashing detergent, toilet paper, and paper towels.

When you’re living in locums housing, whether it’s for a week or a month, you’re living in a shared space, even though the sharing is sequential. Providers often leave items that they haven’t used up in the kitchen, so you may fall heir to random products such as spices, condiments, beverages, canned goods, etc. (It’s a good idea to check expiration dates if you choose to use something that’s been left behind.) Other times you’ll be lucky to find salt and pepper and coffee filters already on hand.

Whether you feel comfortable using anything that’s been donated to the common kitchen is up to you. But don’t be surprised to open a cabinet door and find a collection of pantry items already in residence, or a few jars on the door of the fridge. You may find yourself doing the same when you’re ready to leave, and that’s typically fine. Just be courteous and don’t leave actual leftovers, or any food that wouldn’t be appropriate to share with the next person staying in the space.

So many of your choices will depend on location and lodging, and the length of time you’re on assignment. Once you know what to expect you can think about the other variables. Planning is key to efficient food prep and satisfying meals.

What Food To Bring For Your Rural Locum Tenens Assignment

While kitchens are equipped with the basics, depending on how much you enjoy cooking or your specific food choices, you may want to bring some items that you’ll appreciate, especially if you’re going to be spending weeks or months in your temporary space.

You may want to bring a favorite knife or a selection of spices and seasonings. You might even have a small appliance that you choose to bring along. Many people use small personal-size blenders to make smoothies or protein shakes. You may have a favorite all-purpose skillet or other items that make your meal prep easier. This is the type of convenience that you might consider bringing if your luggage space allows.

When you’re working and living in unfamiliar settings, the last thing you need is a struggle with food and meal prep. If you enjoy cooking, you may find this just another element of your adventure, but regardless, you should be prepared for the setting you’re stepping into.

Flying with Food For Your Rural Locum Tenens Assignment

If you’re taking food items on a flight in your carry-on luggage, check in advance to know what TSA will allow. Once I tried to take a jar of organic gourmet peanut butter in my carry-on and it was confiscated when I went through security at the airport. (Let me just say, I mourned that jar of peanut butter!)

But I’ve successfully taken fruit, pastries, vegetables, fresh herbs, and several other foods through TSA without any problem. You can’t bring liquids through airport security, and since I lost my peanut butter, I’ve avoided bringing any item with a similar texture. But most foods are ok to carry on. And if you want to take gourmet peanut butter with you, just put it in your checked luggage!

You can take food in your luggage, but you’ll want to consider your weight limitations and the type of food. Obviously, liquids or highly perishable items won’t be good choices, but you can take fresh fruit and vegetables (just nothing too delicate), hard cheeses, cereal, rice, or other pantry items, especially if groceries in your work location are expensive. Plan to buy perishables or items that won’t pack well when you arrive.

If you follow a strict diet, you might even want to prep your meals and freeze them to take with you. You can check ice chests as luggage on commercial flights, and I’ve known people to do this. Again, keep in mind weight limitations, especially if you’re going to ultimately be taking a bush plane or seaplane to your destination. (It’s probably good to have a backup plan in case your ice chest gets lost as you travel.)

Shipping Food For Your Rural Locum Tenens Assignment

For communities in Alaska that can only be reached by bush plane or seaplane, you may need to ship your food in. Some services do this. If you’re heading out for an assignment with WMS, ask your account executive or operations staff member about this option. Typically, bush planes and seaplanes have weight restrictions for luggage, so you won’t be able to pack much food to take with you and the only options will be shipping in or buying locally. If you’re advised to shop on the way in or ship your food in, there’s a reason, whether it’s the cost of buying locally, limited options, or both.

For some assignments, the position description suggests that providers will want to shop in a larger city while en route to their destination, buying groceries in Anchorage, Fairbanks, or another hub, and shipping their food out to their village destination. (You can read more about packing food for Alaska assignments, in specific in our article “The Ultimate Alaska Packing List for Locum Tenens Healthcare Providers.”

Additional Considerations

Before heading out for an assignment, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you follow a special diet (gluten-free, Keto, vegan, dairy-free, etc.?)
  • Do you have food allergies to plan around?
  • Do you have a menu rotation of easy meals you can adjust in case you need to substitute ingredients?
  • Do you usually buy organic produce or other specialty grocery items, and what will you substitute if your regular choices aren’t available?
  • Do you like wine with dinner or specialty coffee or tea?

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions, here are a few tips to help you be prepared before you arrive.

  1. Create a menu with at least a few days of meals planned. Know what ingredients you’ll need for each recipe so if you’re shopping as you travel to your work location, you already have a list in hand.
  2. Choose basic recipes that don’t require a long list of ingredients or specialty ingredients that may be hard to find in a small market or use special kitchen equipment to prepare.
  3. Identify spices or herbs you want to take with you. Spices and seasonings can be extremely expensive in small markets (or sometimes unavailable) and might be the best secret ingredient to tuck in your luggage.
  4. You might consider bringing protein shake mixes, easy snacks like granola bars, popcorn, etc. with you to supplement what you buy locally.
  5. Don’t forget to include nutrition supplements if you take these.
  6. If you’re bringing a pet, be sure to plan for your pet’s food as well.

Food at the Community You’re Serving

You may be lucky enough to be on assignment in a community that offers great fishing, or hunting, and to be there in the season for these events. If you are, you may be able to buy fish or game from local residents or even be invited out to hunt or fish on a day off. Local fish or game could be a great

way to supplement your food options and give you a real taste of the area! I’ve learned to clean shrimp, crab, and oysters, how to cook salmon and halibut in multiple ways, and I pick berries in the summer; all skills learned while living in Alaskan communities and enjoying the cuisine of the region!

When you’re experiencing a community and healthcare setting as a locum tenens provider, you’ll inevitably be around for a holiday or birthday, or special celebration of some kind. If you’re invited to take part in a potluck or any type of food event, of course, the choice to participate is up to the individual. It’s a wonderful way to get better acquainted with staff, to try local foods, to be enfolded in the community, even in a small way. Join in if work permits and you’re comfortable taking part!

Have Experience with Food on Assignments? Let us know!

We love hearing from providers who have interesting stories and adventures to share! If you’ve got a food story to share, please let us know. Maybe you experienced an amazing local festival, or you finally learned to cook fresh salmon. Send us a recipe (and photos if you like) and you might find yourself featured on our social media!

If you have suggestions for providers coming after you as to how to best manage grocery shopping, etc., on assignment, we appreciate insights and guidance. We’ll always pass on wisdom gained from experience!

Good luck with your culinary adventures while on assignment! It’s just another way to have fun when you’re working for Wilderness Medical Staffing!

We staff rural & remote locations. Learn More.

Emergency Courtesy License: What You Need to Know

(Please note: Emergency Courtesy Licenses through the Alaska Board of Nursing have been discontinued at this time. Emergency Courtesy Licenses through the Alaska State Medical Board expire on 7/1/2022. Previously issued ECLs will be valid until their expiration date, but new ECLs will not be issued.)

With COVID-19 shaping a new landscape for healthcare providers, certain prerequisites for working in the field of medicine have also changed. As a staffing agency, it’s part of our job to keep up with healthcare trends, which often means staying abreast of different requirements per state that we staff. One of the biggest changes in the last few years has been the adoption of an Emergency Courtesy License (or Courtesy License) for NPs, PAs, and physicians in the state of Alaska. In this article, we’ll break down what an Emergency Courtesy License is, how to attain one, and why they are useful for both healthcare providers and facilities hiring healthcare staff.

What is an Emergency Courtesy License?

According to the State of Alaska, for physicians and PAs, “an Emergency Courtesy License authorizes an individual to practice in Alaska during the period in which the Medical Board has determined an urgent health crisis exists.” Parameters for nurses and nurse practitioners are similar.

The emergency courtesy license is a temporary license for medical practitioners to practice medicine for a set duration of time under certain emergency conditions within the State of Alaska.

The license is good for 120 consecutive days, and then must be renewed for an additional 120 days. The emergency courtesy license can only be renewed once, for a total of 240 days (about 8 months).

We recommend that you consider the Emergency Courtesy License a temporary license and encourage all providers to also apply for a general medical or nursing license if you’re interested in working in Alaska, as well.

What Qualifies as an Emergency Condition to Attain an ECL?

At the time of this article being written, the only condition to be granted an Emergency Courtesy License is that you must be working to provide support for the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’re a nurse practitioner or nurse, you will need to specify the reasons you will be working at the facility, including information about testing, treating COVID patients, or filling in for providers who are out sick due to COVID.

You must also submit information about the timeframe of your assignment and the location of the assignment. For nurse practitioners and nurses, this information must be filled out and submitted with your application.

emergency courtesy licenseWhy are Emergency Courtesy Licenses Useful?

Since COVID-19 hit, it’s been difficult to meet the needs of healthcare facilities promptly. Emergency Courtesy Licenses help us to bridge the gap and fill open positions sooner.

Emergency Courtesy Licenses are helpful to both medical providers and the facilities medical providers take assignments in. They allow medical providers to take assignments with less lead time going into the assignment. It helps facilities to fill open positions when there are more urgent staffing needs, which happens frequently in remote areas of Alaska. For the communities in need of medical providers, it helps to get high-quality medical providers licensed in Alaska, so they have the medical resources they need.

Emergency Courtesy Licenses are also helpful to staffing agencies like ours because we can market ECL-qualified job orders to providers who may not be licensed in Alaska yet. Again, helping to fill assignments with the best professionals for the job.

For all professions, Emergency Courtesy Licenses will be granted weeks or even months sooner than a permanent professional license.

How to Acquire an Emergency Courtesy License

Your profession will determine how you acquire an Emergency Courtesy License. Physicians and physician assistants can apply for ECLs through the Alaska State Medical Board. Nurse Practitioners and nurses will apply through the Alaska Board of Nursing.

The form fields differ slightly based on the profession you’re applying with, however, we have included a few guides on our Helpful Tools page to help you with applying. (See: Alaska Forms & Documentation > Emergency Courtesy Licenses.)

Before you get too far into the process, here are a few things you’ll want to know.

Nurse Practitioner Guidelines

If you’re an NP, you’ll need to obtain an emergency courtesy license as an RN and as an NP. To do this, you’ll fill out the application twice, but in Part II of the application, you’ll select RN on one version and APRN on the second. Please note that the fee for both applications is $200.

In addition, as an NP, you’ll need to complete Part V, “Documentation of ‘Urgent Situation.’” This is where you’ll need to include the location that you’ll be working at, the dates of your assignment, and why your assignment is COVID-related that were outlined earlier.

Physician Assistant and Physician Guidelines

Filling out the paperwork for a physician or physician assistant is slightly easier than that of a nurse practitioner, however, the fees are a bit more costly. You’ll have a non-refundable application fee of $100 and the Courtesy License Fee of $150. If you hold an active Alaska professional license and a DEA registration, then you’ll also be required to register with the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), which is another $25.

One caveat for physicians and physician assistants: you will need to have a valid medical license in the state where you physically reside for your ECL to be approved.

We recommend that all providers have an up-to-date DEA registration with the State of Alaska.

How Long Does It Take to Get the ECL Application Approved?

This can vary based on many factors, but we’re finding that for physicians and physician assistants, it’s taking about a month at the time of this writing.

For nurse practitioners, they are usually granted within 3 weeks, compared to the several months a standard license will take to be approved.

As a reminder, you should still apply for a permanent medical or nursing license and you also need to have a valid DEA registration.

Where to Apply

Physicians and physician assistants – Begin your application here.

Nurse practitioners – Begin your application here.


If you’re interested in working in Alaska as an NP, PA, or physician, view our Open Jobs page. If you’re curious about whether a job qualifies for a provider to have an Emergency Courtesy License, reach out to our recruiters for additional information about the position.

locum tenens jobs


Expert Tips for Choosing a Locum Tenens Agency

As a healthcare provider, there’s no shortage of options when you’re looking for locum tenens opportunities. Some providers contract directly with facilities, but for others, working with a healthcare staffing agency makes more sense. Here’s how to make choosing a locum tenens agency an easy decision.

Why Work With a Locum Tenens Agency?

Before we get into how to choose a locum tenens staffing agency, let’s talk about why you might want to work with one.

When you work with a staffing agency, you have an opportunity to get your CV in front of hundreds of companies instead of only a few. You also have an “in-between” to help work through the logistics of each position. If you decide to go with an agency, you always have someone on your side to work on your behalf to help secure positions and make sure they are successful.

We’ll get into more of the benefits below, but to name a few, the staffing agency will likely coordinate all housing and travel, provide medical malpractice insurance, and help negotiate the terms of your assignment.

How Many Agencies Can You Work With?

Many providers who are new to locum tenens work wonder how many companies they can work with when choosing an agency. As a locum tenens provider, you are legally considered a sub-contractor with the agencies that you work with; meaning you own your own company for which you provide medical services to facilities.

Your locum tenens staffing agency works as the conduit to match healthcare providers with medical assignments healthcare facilities or other companies are trying to fill.

This means that you can work with as many agencies as you want to, but you’ll likely want to stick to just one or two agencies. Since you’ll work with different people from different agencies and will be arranging different working assignments over varied periods, it can become confusing to work with too many staffing agencies at once.

Are You Legally Able to Work in the States the Agency Staffs?

choosing a locum tenens agencyKnowing which states or countries you want to work in and learning if the staffing agency you are interested in works in those areas is one of the first things you’ll want to consider.

Depending on your occupation, unless you can qualify for an Interstate Licensure Compact (for physicians), you’ll likely need to apply for licenses in multiple states. This can become costly to do if you’d like to work in several states throughout the U.S.

If you’re unsure which states you should work in, it can be a good idea to talk to colleagues who work as locum tenens. You could take it a step further and reach out to agencies who are posting the positions, as well, to get more information about what it’s like to work where the jobs are located. Doing some old-fashioned internet browsing is also recommended to get a clear picture of areas that are appealing or not for you.

At Wilderness Medical Staffing, we staff positions in the Northwest United States and Alaska. Many of our positions in Alaska are in extremely rural or frontier areas. For many of our providers, an Alaska license is a must-have so they can experience what it’s like to practice medicine in the “Last Frontier” state. However, the austerity of Alaska isn’t for everyone, and some providers choose not to become licensed there. Since we staff in additional states, we work with those providers to find positions that are better suited to them.

Locum tenens staffing agencies typically work with multiple states, so you have plenty of choices for where to take assignments.

What Kind of Work Do You Want?

A big deciding factor of which staffing agency to work with depends on the type of work you want. Different agencies specialize in working with different specialties or occupations. Some agencies staff globally and some staff more niche positions, based on the location or position type.

You want to make sure that whichever staffing agency you work with knows how to staff individuals with your unique skills, education, and experience.

For instance, at WMS, we help medical facilities to staff many solo-provider assignments. Working as a solo provider can take years of emergency experience after formal training, along with additional certifications. This is a bonus for many of our providers who have dreamed of taking on the challenge of solo-provider work, but it’s a specialty that’s not a fit for every healthcare provider.

When you’re choosing a staffing agency, be sure they work with your profession and have jobs for the specialties you may wish to work in. Having a clear idea of what types of positions you’re looking for and where you’d like to work can help you to decide which staffing agency to work with.

How Much Does it Cost to Work With a Locum Tenens Agency?

As a locum tenens, with any agency you choose to work with, there should be no cost to you for working with the agency. Staffing agencies make money through the clients who pay for the service of having the staffing agency assist them with finding qualified providers. Staffing agencies often have much broader access to providers than individual facilities do, so it not only opens the provider pool up to better qualified candidates, but it also takes some of the work off their internal staff.

Due to your status as an independent contractor, you will typically need to pay for medical licenses, DEA registrations, or any other mandatory credentialing for the facilities. You may also be required to pay for background checks or pre-screening services before an agency will work with you. However, payments for these services should be paid directly to the organizations granting the service and usually not the staffing facility.

These are standard fees for working in various states and with certain facilities depending on your occupation. Any costs you may be responsible for should be communicated to you upfront by the staffing agency so there are no surprises.

The staffing agency that you work with should also cover medical malpractice insurance while you are on assignment. As a provider, you should not be responsible for this cost.

Typically, once you’ve gotten through the process and your paperwork is up to date in a certain state, you won’t need to reapply for a few years, saving you some money.

It’s advisable to discuss any costs you may incur as a locum tenens with your staffing agency before you begin applying to assignments.

How Easily Can You Apply to Positions?

Since locum tenens are often looking for new positions to round out their work schedule, you want to make sure that finding and applying to positions is simple. If you find that it’s too cumbersome to learn about positions or submit your information for them, you may want to look at working with a different agency.

Many times, staffing agencies will reach out to you when they have a position open that they feel you are qualified for and may be interested in. After all, filling positions is a win for everyone involved – the clients, the provider, and the agency!

We post new open jobs for physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners on our website. View our current Open Jobs to learn more and apply.

How Do You Get Paid?

The staffing agency you choose to work with should have informed you of your pay rates before you take any assignment. Typically, you will invoice and be paid by the staffing agency for the work you do. This is often set up via direct deposit, making it easy to get paid while you’re traveling from job to job.

As an independent contractor, you’ll want to talk to a skilled accountant or financial advisor about how filing taxes will be different as a contractor vs. an on-staff employee.

What About Travel and Housing?

This can vary depending on the staffing agency you are working with, but your travel and housing will often be paid for by the staffing agency or client. In some instances, you may pay for housing or travel, but will be reimbursed. Your staffing agency representative should clearly explain details regarding housing and travel to you.

When choosing a staffing agency, be sure they clearly explain the situation for travel and housing and if you’ll be responsible for paying upfront for any of it, so you don’t have any surprises while on assignment. If you find that the staffing agency does not clearly communicate with you about travel and housing for assignments, you likely want to find a different agency.

How is the Staffing Agency’s Staff Paid?

This may seem like an intrusive question to ponder when choosing a locum tenens staffing agency, but it’s worth considering. Often, employees who work for staffing agencies are paid based on commission. However, this isn’t always the case.

At WMS, no one on our team is commission-based. This keeps our internal team from being pitted against one another to bring in the most providers or the most clients. Instead, we work together to find the best providers for our clients’ open assignments.

While there is no right or wrong business model when it comes to the internal teams’ pay, it can be worthwhile to research, so you know the motivation behind how the staffing agency will be working for you.

How Experienced is the Staffing Agency?

how to choose a locum tenens agencyAs your choosing a locum tenens agency, you may want to dig deeper into the staffing agencies that you’re interested in working with to see how long they have been in business. Every company must start somewhere but working with a company with at least a few years of experience can be beneficial. (Our team at WMS has over 165 years of combined healthcare and staffing experience, along with experience with rural facilities.)

You might also want to see if their staff has experience in working for staffing agencies or working in healthcare.

You’ll often be able to get a good indicator of the size of the staffing agency when doing your research. Choosing a large agency over a small one is often a personal preference, but one isn’t necessarily better than another. While larger agencies may have more positions to choose from, you may get more one-on-one attention with smaller agencies.

It’s often more important to consider things like longevity, staff turnover, online reviews, and if the agency seems like they will be a good fit for you overall.

Do You Like the Staffing Agency’s Staff?

This is a big question to ask yourself. When you first begin to do your research into choosing a locum tenens agency, you’ll likely work with a recruiter from their team.

Your first point of contact at the agency can be a great indicator of what working with the agency will be like. Do you like who you’ve spoken with? Did they answer all your questions? Were they knowledgeable and friendly? Did you get any red flags?

Since the staffing agency will be representing you to clients, you want to make sure that they have a vested interest in you as a person, and not just what you can do for their clients.

When you’re first talking with a team member, it can be worth asking them if you’ll be working with anyone besides a recruiter or what the process typically looks like when working with the agency. They should be able to explain it to you, so you can decide if you’ll be a good fit or not. (Learn more about Wilderness Medical Staffing’s provider process here.)

How is the Staffing Agency with Communication?

Especially if you’re new to locum tenens, you may have a lot of questions to ask the staffing agency you’re working with. We get it! There are a lot of moving pieces to everything we do, all the time! If you have a question and you call or email, do you get a timely response? Do the staffing agency representatives take the time to answer your questions?

Do they communicate with you about new positions? Are they easy to reach when you need to get in touch? If you are finding sub-standard communication with the staffing agency before the position, it can be a red flag for when you’re on assignment. Be sure that whoever you’re working with is communicative and easy to talk to before you begin any position.

Ultimately, choosing a locum tenens agency depends on your career goals, needs, and wants. While there are plenty of staffing agencies to choose from, you’ll want to make sure that you feel comfortable and supported with whichever one(s) you work with.


Are you interested in learning how Wilderness Medical Staffing can help to further your career as a locum tenens contracted medical provider?

At WMS, we are transparent with our open assignments and provide critical details (including pay) upfront and in clear terms. We also have in-depth knowledge of the areas we staff, allowing us to give you an accurate picture of what you’re signing up for. Reach out to us. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Learn more about locum tenens

How to Write a CV for Medical Professionals [+ Downloadable CV Template]

So, you’re considering new career opportunities and beginning to think seriously about applying for positions. What’s the first concrete step you should take to begin the process? If you’re honest, you’d probably admit it’s a task you’d like to put off. You know you need to update your CV, but it’s a bit daunting. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to write a CV for medical professionals, so you can land the jobs you want.  

As a medical professional, you know that having a CV is a must, and everyone competing in the medical job market has one. But do you have a CV that stands out? Does your CV represent you in a professional, succinct manner? Does it invite recruiters to get to know you better? Or is your CV dated, wordy, unfocused, and off-putting, however impressive your training and experience may actually be?  


Why a Professional Curriculum Vitae is So Important  

Whether you’re just starting your career, or updating your documents to launch a new chapter, there’s a lot to consider. A CV is not just a catalog of your education and work history. It’s your first opportunity to make a great impression, introduce yourself, and project an image you’ve hand-crafted. You’re putting your best foot forward, and it’s important that you start on the right foot! 

In the healthcare jobs market, recruiters look at dozens of CVs every day, and appearances count, but the content is also critical. Creating an effective summary of your education, skills, and work history is an important task, one that’s deserving of careful consideration. While the point is to convey the pertinent facts of your life, you also want to pay attention to format, length, spelling, which specifics you choose to include, keywords, and accuracy. 

What To Include as You Write a CV for Medical Professionals

The terms “CV” and “resume” are used almost interchangeably, but there are differences you should be aware of. As a medical professional, you’ll want to create a CV.  

Key Components of a CV for Medical Professionals: 

Contact Information 

One of the most crucial pieces of information you can include in your CV is your contact informationBe sure your CV has your name, major credential (MD, DO, NP, PA-C) address, phone number, email, and social media profile link(s). 

Professional Summary 

Your professional summary includes sentence or two to provide an overview of your training and work experience that aligns with the position you’re applying for. Adding your years of cumulative experience to this field as well as any specialties in your field which could help to contribute to the position are advised. 

Core Qualifications / Skills 

This is where you can write a short summary that includes soft skills (interpersonal strengths such as leadership, organization, etc.) and hard skills (certifications, additional medical training, etc.) which help to qualify you for the position. You may choose to use bullet points in this section of the CV. 

Work History / Professional Experience 

List your work history/jobs that pertain to the position you’re applying for, and list them in reverse orderstarting with your current position first; use dates to clarify how much experience you’ve had in specific areas of practice. Also include responsibilities and key achievements within your role, which are typically portrayed using bullet points so the reader can easily scan this information. 


Include a full listing of your educational achievements, from most recent educational accomplishments to oldest. Depending on your profession, you likely will want to list higher education and post-graduate education and may exclude compulsory education (K-12) 

Additional Sections 

To round out your CV, you may also want to list certifications, published work, honors, or additional skills. 

Additional Tips as You Write Your CV for Medical Professionals

  • Save personal narratives for a cover letter, don’t include this in your CV. 
  • Don’t include personal details such as race, religion, age, place of birth, citizenship, and marital status. 
  • A CV may be 3 pages or longer. However, it’s still important to be concise. Use bullet points rather than full sentences when appropriate. 
  • Don’t add unnecessary language to try to elongate your CV.  
  • Never exaggerate anything on your CV. 
  • Use headings such as “Teaching” or “Research”; education may be divided between “Degrees” and “Advanced Training.” 
  • Don’t include information as to why you left previous positions, your desired income, or your work history that isn’t pertinent to your medical career. 
  • You may or may not choose to list references on your CV, but do be prepared to provide them when asked.  
  • Do ask the people you want to use as references for permission to share their information, you don’t want them to be surprised to receive a reference call about you. 
  • Use phrases rather than full sentences to keep your presentation concise. 
  • Use consistent grammar structure throughout your CV. 


Make sure you’ve proofread your CV for simple spelling mistakes and typos. Make sure you have all names spelled correctly, that information you include about schools, workplaces, dates, addresses, phone numbers, etc., is current and accurate. Having outdated or incorrect information will make your information appear sloppy and unprofessional.  


How To Design Your CV for Medical Professionals

Websites with CV Templates 

Now that we’ve reviewed the basics of what to include (and exclude) in your CV, it’s time to consider the appearance of your document. What format will you choose? Templates are available on websites like Creative Market or Pinterest, word processing programs like Word and Pages, and on design platforms like Canva or PicMonkey; many are offered for free. You can also go to sites like Etsy to purchase a template or have something designed specifically for you on a website such as Fiverr 

cv for medical professionals

If you’re unsure of what format you want, spend some time on any of the sites listed above to see what appeals to you. As you view samples of CVs, you’ll learn what styles you prefer and get a sense of what will best represent you to prospective employers. You’ll see template options such as “professional,” “modern,” “minimalist,” “simple,” etc. Keep in mind searching for “CV” will often pull in resumes templates as well.  

Exclude Photos as you Design Your Curriculum Vitae 

Often examples of resumes include photos, but the best advice for your medical professional CV is not to include a photo. Keep in mind that recruiters will be checking you out on social media sites, so they’ll see photos posted there. They will also ask you for a photo if they require that as part of their recruiting or interviewing process. All that said, if you choose to include a photo, that’s also fine. There are no rigid rules to this process. 

Design Your Curriculum Vitae So Its Easy to Read 

Once you choose a general style and layout, you’ll also want to focus on a few other details. You may choose a template that gives you everything you want. Or you may find a layout you like but want to choose a different font or point size (size of the type) or vary the use of regular, bold, or italic type in your document.  

Whatever font you choose, make sure it’s easy to read. Don’t try to be artistic with your font choice. Your CV is not a document that should have an “artsy” look. 

It may seem that these variables are unimportant details. But these choices can make your document appear clean and current, or fussy and dated. Above all, you want your finished product to look polished, organized, and have a consistent format. In a sea of applications, your CV should be memorable for the substance and the style you present. 

Keywords in Your CV for Medical Professionals Can Make Yours Stand Out: Here’s How 

Recruiters use software that searches CVs for keywords to help them efficiently evaluate candidates. As you prepare your CV, use keywords that will be easily found by software and search engines, and can be quickly spotted by recruiters.  

For instance, if you’ve had ER/ED experience, note whether that has been “fast track” or “main track.” Indicate if you’re a primary care provider, or work in urgent care. Write names of procedures and other details that will showcase your expertise and experience. Mention systems and software you’ve used by name, especially electronic health records systems: Epic, Cerner, etc.  

Keywords will literally help you be found and can make the difference in getting interviews and job offers, or not making it through the screening process. If you’re unsure of what keywords to use in your CV, try searching online for keywords that pertain to your medical degree or your field of specialty.  

A quick Google search for “keywords for emergency medicine doctor” yields this to give you suggestions. Google “keywords” plus whatever specialty or topic you’re writing about to find keywords that will help your CV stand out. Google will do a lot of the work for you by giving you lists of keywords to choose from, just as in the example noted above. 

Keeping Your Medical Professional CV Up to Date 

How often should you update your CV? As often as you add to your education or work experience. Even if you don’t have updates to note in these areas, it’s a good idea to periodically review your CV and be sure that all the information you’ve included is still accurate. At WMS, our recruiters recommend that providers send us any updates to their CV every six months, so we have the most recent version on file.  

Have you changed any of your contact information? Have you added new skills or positions, even if you haven’t changed employers? If any of this important information has changed, be sure to update it. 

Keeping your CV current when you’re promoted or complete a new certification, etc., will make it easy to have your CV ready to submit when you find an opportunity that interests you. If you haven’t updated your CV in years, it will be a much bigger challenge to gather the critical details of positions, dates of employment, specifics of skills, etc.  

Before you submit your CV for a job application, ask a peer whose judgment you trust to review it, and give you feedback. Better yet, ask a couple of people to review your draft. Having someone else proofread your document is essential. Ask them to read for clarity and consistency as well. Let it sit a day or two and re-read it to determine if you’ve included everything you want to highlight. 

Additional Considerations Beyond Your CV to Help You Land the Job 

Keep in mind that other choices which are not even part of your CV can also make you appear dated or out-of-touch, or even unsuitable for a professional position. 

Email Address 

What service are you using for email? Is it AOL? If so, it could be worth upgrading to a Gmail, Outlook, or even a Yahoo account. If you’re still using the first email address you created in high school, you might want to consider updating this, at least for your professional communications. Typically, including your full name in your email address is best for professional correspondence. 

Open Communication 

As technology and society evolve, it’s good to be comfortable with texting or messaging and offer that as a means of communication when you’re working with a recruiter. This means triple-checking that your phone number is correct on your CV to make sure they can contact you.  

Social Media 

What about your social media presence? Be aware that your social media profiles will be reviewed and evaluated as appropriate or inappropriate for the professional role you’re seeking. If you would feel awkward having a recruiter view your social media profiles, you should consider editing your content.  

If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, consider creating one. Up to 90% of recruiters report using LinkedIn to recruit or screen candidates, including WMS.  

Fear of Technology 

Avoid sounding intimidated by technology or reluctant to use technology in general. While you don’t want to represent yourself as more tech-savvy than you really are, if you’re not comfortable with the technology you’re expected to utilize, consider asking for help from a tech-savvy friend or relative, or use online tutorials to get up to speed. Technology is considered a necessity in most professions, so understanding enough to work with it is important. 


While your responsiveness won’t be something to showcase on your CV, keep in mind that once you submit a CV, you can expect to be communicating with recruiters. Prompt, professionally worded, and courteous emails or texts will put you ahead of candidates who are not good communicators. 

Next Steps to Getting Your Perfect Position 

We’ve included the template below as an example of a simple yet professional CV for medical professionals. This version was modified from a Canva template, which you can find on their site by searching “CV.”  

medical professional cv template medical professional cv template page 2

Good luck with updating or creating, whichever you need to do, and remember, this is your first chance to make a great impression. Your effort here will be well worth your time and thought! 

Once your CV is ready, if you’re an existing WMS provider, we encourage you to email us your most updated version. If you’re interested in working with WMS as a contracted locum tenens medical provider, you can submit your CV to us either by contacting us on our contact form or by applying to one of our open jobs. 

Learn more about locum tenens

The Ultimate Alaska Packing List for Locum Tenens Healthcare Providers

If you are traveling to Alaska for your locum tenens assignment, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the often-ever-changing weather conditions, rugged terrain, and varied methods of travel, knowing what to pack can be a great first step to making sure you can hit the ground running when you arrive. In this article, we’ll give you the ultimate Alaska packing list for locum tenens healthcare providers.

Get the download of this list here!


The weather in Alaska varies greatly. It’s a huge state with beautiful natural scenery, and five distinct climate zones, depending on where you are in the state. Add the four seasons into the mix and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by what to pack to ensure you have a successful assignment.

Before you begin any assignment in Alaska, be sure you talk to your account executive to get any information you need about the location you’ll be visiting. Each facility has different considerations when it comes to clothing and food. Speaking to your WMS account executive is the best way to make sure you’re ready for your assignment!

Alaskan Weather

Before we get into our Alaska packing list, you need to be familiar with Alaska’s weather. Alaska is a big state, stretching from east to west as wide as the continental U.S., and almost as far from north to south. Consequently, there is not one “Alaskan climate”. Weather patterns and climate vary widely depending on where you are going and what time of year it is.

  • Southeast Alaska (Inside Passage), Kodiak Island, and the majority of the Aleutian Islands tend to be very wet throughout the year (especially from September through January) but not especially cold. Average lows through the winter are in the ’20s-’30s, not unlike a coastal town in Washington State or New England.
  • In the Interior of Alaska and on the North Slope (Arctic), temperatures will be much colder in the winter. Average low temperatures through the winter range from -20 to -50 Fahrenheit. The further north you go, the longer it stays dark in the winter months.
  • Along the west coast of Alaska (Southwest), fog commonly rolls in throughout the year, and some areas can get very windy. These locations are also very wet, so pack good waterproof boots.

The best way to know what to expect is to study the area before you pack for the trip. Go online and look up the weather forecasts and climate history of the specific location you will be working.

We also recommend checking out this handy weather planner to get an idea of what the weather in Alaska is like compared to where you live. Pay attention to precipitation, wind, and temperature ranges. If you want some more information or advice before your assignment, we are always here to help.

Clothes for Your Alaska Packing List

How much you pack will depend on the length of your assignment, but most of our locum tenens Alaska assignments are longer than a few weeks. Your living arrangement should have facilities available to do laundry, so we’ve given examples of what to pack while on assignment for at least one week.

While much of your time on assignment will likely be spent in-clinic or in a healthcare facility, our providers often are exposed to Alaska’s austere weather conditions during travel, time off, or when healthcare emergencies arise away from the job site. It’s good to be prepared for a multitude of situations. Again, consider the weather for the region you’ll be staying before putting together your suitcases. If you’re unsure, reach out to your WMS account executive to get additional information.

During the fall, winter, or spring in almost any location, you must pack to stay warm, dry, and comfortable. During summer months, it’s a good idea to still bring plenty of layering clothing, but you will also want to bring typical summer clothes, as well.

The below Alaska packing list is a great starting point:

Base layers

You’ll want to start packing with moisture-wicking base layers. These often include synthetic fabrics (polyester and polyester blends) and merino wool. Avoid cotton if you may be getting wet. Merino wool can be warmer than synthetic fabrics, so you may choose to use a short sleeve polyester base layer in warmer months and long-sleeve merino wool if you’ll be working in colder conditions. Your base layer should be skin-hugging or snug to fit.

  • 🗸 2-3 full sets of base layers (a top and bottom). During colder months, you may wish to bring more.
    🗸 2-3 sets of shorts/t-shirts (for summer assignments)

While many of our Alaska positions are in-clinic, we have plenty that are solo-provider capable or can require providers to meet patients in the Alaskan terrain to treat them in emergency situations. It’s better to be prepared if the need arises and having base layers can allow you to focus on your patient and not on your lack of clothing.


To better insulate from the cold, you’ll want to pack comfortable mid-layers. Your mid-layers will go between your base layer and an outer layer (which is typically a jacket of some sort). We recommend bringing multiple mid-layer options. These can be fleece, slight to heavy down, or synthetic insulated jackets. These types of jackets often can fold up small but aren’t typically waterproof or windproof like your outer layer will be.

  • 🗸 5-7 options for each mid-layer tops and bottoms.

You will likely wear mid-layers daily, so having some options to layer and switch between is useful. Since they are mid-layers, you can likely get a few days of wear out of them. For instance, you may want to bring three fleece shirts/jackets to rotate between, and two different weights of insulated jackets.

Since your pants are likely to be worn daily, 5-7 pairs of comfortable hiking or fleece pants to rotate between or layer should get you easily through a week.

For mid-layer pants, you may also consider waterproof pants since your mid-layer is often your outer layer if you’ll be outside. Dependent upon your assignment, you may be able to wear your mid-layer pants as your everyday work attire while on assignment, as well.

Since you’ll be working in remote conditions, your base and mid-layers may serve as your day clothes while on the job. Your account executive can help to clarify what work-appropriate clothing is best, but typically, in Alaska, your work clothes are the same as what you’d wear for daywear clothing.

Outer Layers

Sometimes referred to as a shell layer, this is your wind and rain protection. You’ll want something breathable and waterproof or water-resistant. As with base layers and mid-layers, you have many options for weight and warmth with your outer layer. What you bring will be dependent upon the time of year and the location of your assignment.

For cold weather, especially in the Arctic, this will be a parka or warm winter jacket. Be sure check temperature ratings on your layers, to make sure you’re bringing weather-appropriate gear.

  • 🗸 1-2 outer layer jackets (wind and waterproof)

Essentials for Your Alaska Packing List

You also need to be prepared to keep your head, feet, and hands warm. Wool socks, a warm hat, good winter gloves, and waterproof insulated boots are a must. Footwear can come with a temperature rating, as well, so plan to get the right boots for where you’ll be located. You may also want to pack a scarf or neck gator to keep the wind off your neck.

  • 🗸 Additional shoes for work or recreation
    🗸 Scarf/gator
    🗸 Waterproof insulated boots (based on temperature rating)
    🗸 Winter gloves (waterproof)
    🗸 Warm hat
    🗸 Warm socks (Wool or synthetic to wick moisture. Do not wear cotton socks.)

Additionally, you’ll want to add general essentials as well, such as undergarments, sleepwear, and toiletries to your Alaska packing list.

  • 🗸 Undergarments to get you through one week, plus a few extras to have on hand
    🗸 Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, soap, makeup, hair products, razors, shaving cream, glasses/contacts, medications, hairbrush, bandages, etc.)
    🗸 2-3 sets of sleepwear

Some coastal or island locations are so windy that people will bring ski goggles for when they walk outside in the winter.

  • 🗸 Optional: Ski goggles

Depending on where your assignment will be in Alaska, we’d recommend packing bear spray, as well. You can confirm with your WMS account executive to see if bears are native to the location where you’ll be on assignment.

  • 🗸 Bear spray

Professional Attire for Your Alaska List

When you are at work, dress codes vary but tend to be business casual. Scrubs are acceptable, but not often worn in remote areas of Alaska. In many locations, jeans or khakis are appropriate. Many types of hiking pants are available in a “dressier/khaki” look, as well, so your mid-layer pants may prove to be useful to wear as your professional attire. Some providers keep their clothing casual and pair it with a lab coat.

Prioritize practicality and comfort when you pack for work. If you are unsure, feel free to ask the account executive who helped place you in the assignment.

  • 🗸 3-4 pairs of scrubs or dress clothes (based on facility requirements)
    🗸 Lab coat optional unless the facility requires it

Technology Considerations When Packing for Alaska

Cell Phone

If you are working anywhere in Alaska outside the major cities (Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Sitka), likely, your cell phone will not have service. Major cell service providers do not have good service in remote Alaska.

The best cell coverage by far is provided by GCI, a small cell provider based out of Alaska. If you must take a bush plane, ferry, or helicopter to get to your destination, it is a good sign you might want a GCI phone. You can purchase a GCI phone here and find a GCI location here. Feel free to ask your account executive for more information.

  • 🗸 GCI mobile phone


Any clinic you work at will have Internet in the facility. However, in some of our more remote areas, the Internet in housing can be unreliable or absent altogether. If you are planning a long assignment in a remote part of Alaska, you may want to bring entertainment like a book you’ve been wanting to read or movies you like. Many housing options for Alaska assignments have TVs with DVD players or Internet in the room. If you get a GCI phone for your trip, there are many parts of Alaska where you can get data to your phone and have Internet anywhere through your phone’s mobile hotspot.

If you are traveling to a remote location, it’s also a good idea to come with your cell phone prepared for WiFi calling and texting. In many villages, you will have access to the Internet but may not have cell service.

  • 🗸 Personal cell phone to access WiFi

Additionally, you’ll want to be sure to pack additional travel essentials.

  • 🗸 Laptop/Tablet
    🗸 Electronics Chargers
    🗸 Earphones

Packing Food for Alaska Assignments

Alaska truly is the “Last Frontier”, and on the frontier, well-stocked grocery stores are a rarity. There are three major cities in Alaska where you will find relatively inexpensive groceries: Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau.

If you are going to be flying into a remote village, you will most likely land in one of these hubs before departing. While you are in these cities, we highly recommend buying food and having it sent to your assignment. You do not need to bring food from home. Stock up when you’re in Alaska and get the food sent to your location. Depending on how much baggage you’ve already brought, the clinic may reimburse you for the food. Ask your account executive how many bags you will be reimbursed if you are unsure.

Most remote villages in Alaska will not have much more than an expensive convenience store to source food from, as everything must be flown in. You will save money and eat better if you stock up before departing. There is a Fred Meyer in both Fairbanks and Anchorage. You can have them pack a box for you to be shipped wherever you need to go. You will save money by purchasing supplies in a major city and shipping them to your work location even if you are not reimbursed for the baggage.

We would recommend the following stores to shop at before departing from the nearest major city.

Each village or town is different from what its local amenities are. Before you stock up, talk to your Wilderness Medical Staffing account executive to get additional information about the grocery situation for your assignment. Your WMS position description should also have the additional information from the facility you’ll be working at so you can fill in the blanks for food on your Alaska packing list. Some areas have additional small grocery stores or the option to ship in items from places like Amazon or Target, but it differs from one location to the next.

Depending on the length of your assignment, you may want to meal-plan ahead of time so you can be ready for several weeks’ worth of cooking. Most rural areas in Alaska do not have dining out options, so you will need to cook where you are staying.

Alcohol and Marijuana

Many tribal communities in Alaska have restrictions on alcohol sales. You may be working in a “dry” village, where there is a total prohibition on alcohol. You may be in a “damp” community where there are heavy restrictions on alcohol sales. In many cases, it will be illegal for you to bring alcohol with you into the village. Be mindful of this when you travel to Alaska. Look up the local laws before attempting to purchase or ship alcohol.

Marijuana is legal in the state of Alaska, but your assignment could still be compromised if THC is found in your drug test. Since most medical facilities in Alaska are at least partially federally funded, there are strict prohibitions against marijuana use for medical workers.

A locum can arrive on-site in Alaska for an assignment, take a drug test that indicates marijuana use, and it will result in your assignment being canceled on the spot. Since you may be subject to a random drug test at any time, it is a best practice to abstain from marijuana use for at least 21 days before your assignment, so any drug tests come back negative.

Once you are in Alaska, it is best to abstain from marijuana use until your assignment ends. If you have any questions about your specific assignment or have any questions or concerns about alcohol or marijuana, your account executive will be the best resource for answers.


Providing medical care to rural populations in Alaska can be a rewarding adventure. Arriving prepared will allow you to focus on your job at hand. If you have any questions about what to bring, we encourage you to reach out to your account executive.

Download the full Alaska packing list here.

locum tenens jobs

How To Stand Out as a Locum Tenens Candidate

At Wilderness Medical Staffing, we staff locum tenens and permanent placement physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants in remote and rural locations throughout the Northwest United States and Alaska. We’re a small staffing agency because we’d rather have high-quality providers working with our clients than a huge database of providers who can’t cut it when they work in a rural facility.

As a locum tenens candidate, you have to get through pre-screening with WMS before we’ll consider you for positions with our clients in their medical facilities. It’s imperative to us that any provider we’re going to submit for an open position is going to be able to do the job at a high level. This means that knowing how to stand out is critical for working with us and being successfully placed in positions.

So, what does it take to be an amazing locum tenens medical provider? We asked our CMO (Chief Medical Officer) Mary Ellen Doty to share what qualities our clients look for when selecting a locum tenens provider. Here are her key insights:

You Need to Have Excellent Medical Skills and Experience

We know that to be a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner, you already have had plenty of schooling before you were able to give yourself that title. Since we specialize in helping rural and remote communities, it often means needing to have some additional experience beyond education.

For many of the locations we staff, you may be immersed into a community where they need a solo-capable provider with excellent emergency skills. This means that having a few years of experience under your belt, especially in emergency medicine, can often be helpful when it comes to being qualified for positions at the medical facilities we staff.

In addition, many of our providers have one or more of the following additional certifications.

Excellent Medical SkillsATLS – Advanced Trauma Life Support

ATLS is very important for most of our providers to have. ATLS was developed by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Committee on Trauma (COT) and was first introduced in the US and abroad in 1980. You can learn more about ATLS and find available courses here. Being certified in ATLS is so important to us at WMS, that we sometimes host ATLS courses for our providers. Contact us to learn if we have any courses coming up.

ACLS – Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support

This course builds on the skills from the BLS (Basic Life Support) certification. This course hosted by the American Heart Association is intended for healthcare professionals who either direct or participate in the management of cardiopulmonary arrest or other cardiovascular emergencies and for personnel in emergency response.

PALS – Pediatric Advanced Life Support

PALS certification is given through the American Heart Association. PALS is for healthcare providers who respond to emergencies in infants and children and for personnel in emergency response, emergency medicine, intensive care, and critical care units.

CALS – Comprehensive Advanced Life Support

The CALS certification is a Minnesota-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, specifically designed for medical providers who are working in rural, remote, and global emergency departments.

Board Certifications

All physicians who work with us are expected to be board certified in their field.

You Must Be Respectful, Professional, and Adaptable

As a locum tenens staffing agency, our providers are typically short-term guests at healthcare facilities. Because we are in the unique position of staffing rural and remote locations, many times, our providers have opportunities to be immersed in and learn from other cultures. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you are respectful, professional, and adaptable.

In addition, it’s also extremely important for WMS providers to model professionalism by being patient-focused. One of the perks of working in rural and wilderness locations is the relationships that can be built with the people of the towns and villages you may work in. Therefore, being extremely patient-focused is key. In rural healthcare, patients are people and not just a number.

Keeping diligent charts is also expected of our WMS providers. This ensures that the quality of medical care is well-communicated, especially if information needs to be shared with additional healthcare providers. As a locum tenens, you are only a temporary provider in the medical facility, so making sure that other providers who come in after you can decipher your notes and treat patients with continuity of care is important.

Being a team player is a necessity, as well. Not only will you need to work closely with your WMS account executive and operations associates before and during your assignment, but you’ll also be joining an existing team of medical providers where you are placed. Being able to adapt to and work with these people is critically important to a successful placement.

Finally, in rural and remote locations, being adaptable is imperative. Not only will you need to adapt to the various facilities you’ll work in, but rural medicine involves a whole new set of unique challenges including weather, travel, and limited support or resources. While our providers go into their assignments ahead of time with the understanding of the challenges that may arise, it’s hard to fully encapsulate them without first-hand experience. Knowing that you’ll need to adapt will help you to make sure you have a successful assignment.

Know Your Availability

Many locum tenens medical providers enjoy being a locum tenens because it allows for some flexibility in scheduling. For us to best match you with job openings, knowing your availability is extremely helpful.

At Wilderness Medical Staffing, we staff short (less than one week), medium (one week to one month), and long-term (one month or longer) medical assignments. Since our locum tenens medical providers are 1099 contactors, we understand that you may have another job that you’re wishing to work locum tenens assignments around. You may even work with other staffing agencies (although we hope we’re your #1) and want to pick up assignments that will fit into scheduling assignments with those other companies.

Communicating your availability and job length preferences will help our team at WMS to find the jobs that fit you the best. This helps us to get you into positions more efficiently and helps the medical facilities that we work with to fill their openings quickly when needed.

Be Reliable

This likely goes without saying, but a key factor in being a successful locum tenens candidate is to be reliable. When one of our providers agrees to take on an assignment, and the client of the medical facility accepts the provider to fill the role, we consider the position filled.

Our providers must follow through on the commitment they make to take locum tenens assignments. Because we staff rural and remote locations, this is even more important than it might otherwise be in an urban medical setting.

For instance, let’s say we’re staffing a small clinic in a remote village in Alaska, and the medical provider who we’ve assigned to staff that clinic backs out. It not only leaves the clinic without a medical provider, but it could mean the community who lives there has no medical support. This can cause devastating effects on the communities that we take pride in serving.

If you’re going to be a Wilderness Medical Staffing candidate, you need to be reliable. We are counting on you. Our clients are counting on you. And the communities we serve are counting on you.

Be Proficient in Technology

Be Proficient in TechnologyEven the most remote medical facilities use EMR (electronic medical records) or EHR (electronic health records) systems. For our locum tenens healthcare providers, having experience with a variety of these systems is often very useful. If you aren’t familiar with many EMR or EHR systems, having the willingness to learn how to use them will help you to acclimate to new job assignments. For our clients, it can be a challenge when their new medical provider isn’t willing to adapt to existing systems.

In addition, depending on the assignment, you may also need to collect and process lab samples, read and interpret x-rays, or use additional technological equipment that you haven’t had to use in the past. For our providers, being comfortable with diving in and learning new medical technological equipment can make you stand out above the rest. It not only will make the position you’re filling easier, but it will help the facility to have a capable provider who is ready for anything.

Organizational Skills

Being organized is a huge must of being a locum tenens medical provider. Having your licenses, certifications, and curriculum vitae up to date and accessible via a PDF will help you to get onboarded with Wilderness Medical Staffing. These documents also help us to submit you more quickly and efficiently to our clients at medical facilities.

Again, since you will typically be submitted for positions along with other WMS medical providers, having your documentation organized can give you a competitive edge. Not only that, but many of our clients will also work with other locum tenens staffing agencies. Therefore, you’re not only potentially competing with WMS providers for positions, but you may be competing against additional providers from other medical staffing firms, as well. When we can submit all the information our clients need promptly and orderly, it’s very helpful for securing a WMS candidate into the assignments.

Submitting qualified candidates swiftly and with the proper documentation and pre-screening already done, it’s helpful for our internal team and clients and can provide a winning situation for our providers, as well.

If you’re new to working locum tenens and this sounds a bit overwhelming, don’t worry. We have helpful guides on our website, and our team is highly skilled at working with providers to make sure you have everything you’ll need to be a successful locum tenens candidate.

If you’re interested in becoming a provider with Wilderness Medical Staffing, download our handy guide including “Six Ways To Stand Out as a Locum Tenens Candidate.”

Six Ways to Stand Out as a Locum Tenens Candidate

Also, be sure to contact us so our team can talk to you more about becoming a locum tenens provider with Wilderness Medical Staffing

2. Background Check (less than 5 minutes for you to initiate) If we need to have a completed background check on profile for you, you should receive a separate email via Checkr today. If you receive this email, please review the terms and conditions. Once reviewed, a signature is required to authorize WMS to run a background check.