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.
What 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.