3 signs it's time to hire locum tenens and additional support staff at your practice

Male doctor in white lab coat
A growing number of physician practices are looking to locum tenens to fill gaps on their staffs and relieve some of the stress common in growing practices. (Getty/Saklakova)

While the healthcare industry is bracing for a shortage of primary care doctors by 2030 and nurses by 2022, some medical practices may already be feeling the effects of the coming shortfall.

A growing number of physician practices are looking to locum tenens to fill gaps on their staffs and relieve some of the stress common in growing practices. Here are three signs you may need to hire locum tenens or other support staff:

You feel overwhelmed with work

There is being tired, and then there is being completely stressed out. If you feel overwhelmed with the work at your practice and no longer look forward to working, then chances are that you need help. About 54.4% of physicians reported at least one symptom of burnout due to excessive work, according to a 2015 Mayo Clinic Proceedings Report.

Some of the signs you should look out for include:

  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Increasing dissatisfaction with your job
  • Poor work-life balance
  • A more judgmental attitude and impatience toward patients
  • Inability to see all your patients.

Should you find yourself unable to meet all your patients because there are just too many of them, then it may be time to hire locum tenens to help you out.

Your employees are stressed out

While you may be the main or one of the main decision-makers in your medical practice, other employees are just as important to your business success.

Statistics show that 76% of people in the U.S. are stressed out by money and work. In the event that your practice is swamped and you are experiencing a shortage of labor, your employees will also feel it. And they will have the symptoms of work stress to show for it.

So what issues should you be on the lookout for in this regard? Here are a few:

  • Increased absenteeism
  • A chaotic practice
  • Unhappy employees who clash all the time
  • An abnormal employee turnover
  • Increased rudeness and overall poor service to patients
  • A reduction in productivity.

If your employees are not able to handle all that is being thrown at them, invest in additional support workers for everyone’s sake.

Your patients are unhappy

About 56% of employees who work in various industries say that work stress affects their performance, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Your staff aren't immune to it. 

Tired employees become frustrated, and sooner or later, that frustration is going to spill over to your patients. And when that happens, some of your patients will express their dissatisfaction with your services in no uncertain terms. This will let you know that something is off.

Unfortunately, others will not let you know directly. But they will take the news of your bad services all the way to social media and other platforms that allow for business reviews. This would make your practice look very bad, and you may never recover from the hit to your brand.

While the biggest mistake doctors make when they discover that unhappy patients have posted negative or inaccurate comments about them is not responding to the bad reviews, you may also want to look at the bigger picture and see if additional staff at your practice could ease the stress and make for a happier staff and patients.