November 29, 2009 - Book Review - Have Stethoscope, Will Travel
This little book is a book reviewer’s dream.
• It is short, 108 pages.
• It is authoritative. Its authors are executives in Staff Care, the largest locum tenens staffing firm in the United States.
• It addresses a growing and large locum tenens physician market- $2.1 billion spent in 2009 with 37,000 physicians placed.
• It graphically tells why the market is growing – physician shortages and doctors’ unhappiness in traditional practices.
• It specifies what specialists are in demand primary care 43%, anesthesiology 29%, behaviorial health 16%, radiology 11%, surgery 8%. Fenistry 3%.
• It places doctors who choose primary care into five categories: alternatives (those escaping from troubles and pressures of traditional practices), sunset seekers (experienced doctors who want to cap their careers), test drivers (young doctors who want to see what’s out there), transitionals (mid-career doctors looking for the next step), moonlighter (those seeking extra income).
• It tells of the benefits of locum tenens (freedom 31%, no politics 19%, travel 18%, pay rate 15%, professional development 9%, a way to find a permanent job 7%), and the drawbacks (away from home 31%, uncertainties 25%, lack of benefits 17%, quality of assignments 13%, other 2%).
• It answers a variety of questions that invariably arise in the prospective locum tenens physicians mind.
• It devotes chapters to the licensing process, hospital privileges, and malpractice issues.
• It describes why the doctor shortage and the demand for doctors is growing – aging baby boomers, shrinking supply, exploding population, shortfalls in rural America, technology changes requiring more doctors, feminization of medicine, with women doctors working shorter hours, younger doctors seeking shorter hours and more balanced lifestyles.
• It outlines the 2009 trends in locum recruiting – more primary care doctors, surgeons, and behavior specialists.
• On top of all this, the book is well-written, pithy, with ample charts and survey results, with catchy chapter titlesl and appropriate opening quotes.
• It is grounded in reality. It explains what is transpiring on the ground in American medicine without editorializing, pontificating, or posturing. This is real world stuff.
• Recommended for all of you interested in what is happening in American medicine and what is causing doctors to act the way they do.