Locum Tenens (in latin means to take the place of) or as many in healthcare call it “Moonlighting” or “temporary physicians.”

SMART Physician Recruiting is a national healthcare recruitment company with a particular focus on the placement of locum tenens physicians. Locum tenens placements represent about 80% of our business. SMART proudly works in all 50 states for locum tenens assignments. We have a specific focus on hospital based specialties (emergency medicine, hospitalist, radiology and anesthesiology and CRNA).

Locum tenens as an industry is one of the fastest growing segments in healthcare. Just twenty years ago only about three percent of physicians surveyed indicated that they have done or are doing some locum tenens work. Now that amount has grown to over thirteen percent of physicians surveyed confirmed that they are doing or have done locum tenens work in the past 12 months.

The increase in physicians choosing to do locum tenens as a secondary income or even as a main source of income can be contributed to three core reasons or trends in American healthcare.


Locum Tenens physicians are in high demand. There remains a major shortage of physicians, especially in rural parts of America and in many specific specialties. Since many of these positions or opportunities remain open, hospitals, groups and management companies have to have physicians that can fill the shifts, perform the procedures and see the patients. It’s simple economics. Little supply creates a high demand.


Many physicians that are now coming out of training are saddled with hundreds of thousands of undergraduate and medical school debt. Even though physicians salaries are increasing, many younger physicians are choosing locum tenens work on their time off to earn extra income to pay down their debt.


Rather than having one singular employer, more and more physicians are choosing to become an independent contractor and work at multiple hospitals and practices. Choosing to do locum tenens through a recruitment company like SMART Physician Recruiting allows the physician to choose the days and times that they want to work. The physicians even have the opportunity to choose where they want to work as company’s like SMART will assist or process a new state medical license if the physician wants to work in another state.