Latin for “holding one’s place,” locum tenens refers to temporary nursing assignments that can last anywhere from a few days to sometimes a year or more. This staffing option can be a welcome solution for employers, and a positive opportunity for NNPs.

Still, as great as locum tenens staffing is, it’s also a well-kept secret in some circles. So, today we’re going to dive into the locum tenens NNP role, and hopefully, make it a more accessible option by dispelling some staffing myths and sharing the lesser-known benefits of this role.

How the NNP locum role differs from the travel RN role

A travel RN is “shipped out” on assignment from facility to facility — on a revolving basis — with each job lasting approximately 13 weeks.

Conversely, as an NNP, you can choose to make locum your full-time gig or just an every-once-in-a-while thing. If you’re currently and gainfully employed, you can take on the occasional travel assignment: your locum employer will do their best to accommodate your hospital schedule to ensure that your regular duties and routines remain intact. Keep your full-time job, stay close to home, friends, and family, and still travel.

Locum tenens is trending

Over the past 15 years, we’ve seen a surge of neonatal nurse practitioners choosing locum tenens jobs.

One explanation for this shift is, simply put — there are more locum positions available these days due to a sustained shortage of nurse practitioners across the country.

But there is also a host of benefits that entice NNPs to travel and work temporary shifts:

Reasons to consider locum tenens positions:

1. Focus

Many NNPs are opting for locum work because it allows them to focus more on patient care, without getting caught up in the politics one may have at their home hospital.

Sure, there’s still computer and paperwork to do—but for many, a traveling assignment means reduced stress and worry associated with the political aspect of the job.

2. Create additional financial freedom

Locum work provides a unique opportunity to pick up additional income when needed. If you’re in between jobs or looking to use up some time off from your current position, you can bring in a decent income. We’ve had candidates who have paid off student loans, remodeled their homes, and even sent their kids to college with the additional income that locum tenens positions offer.

3. Free travel

Some choose locum work due to the higher pay rate and the ability to travel around the country for free. As a locum, more often than not you’ll be compensated for all out-of-pocket travel expenses (lodging, licensure, transportation, etc). Plus, your malpractice insurance will be covered.

4. Get a foot in the door at a new facility

Working temporarily as a locum tenens neonatal nurse practitioner is a great way to get experience under your belt and test the waters with a potential new employer. Oftentimes, a temporary travel job can lead to full-time employment. So, use this experience to assess how well you’d fit in the culture on a long-term basis.

5. Augment your skillset

Some NNPs use locum tenens to gain experience with unique technologies and discipline from a variety of units. By incorporating these new skills into your practice, you gain transferable knowledge and breadth, making you more valuable in the eyes of potential employers, or even your current.

Locum tenens staffing is on the rise for neonatal nurse practitioners around the country. So, whether you’re just in the middle of your career, or winding down, a locum tenens position may be just the breath of fresh air you’ve been looking for.

Here at ENSEARCH, we’re proud to be the first recruitment firm in the county to have offered locum NNP staffing. Since 1994, ENSEARCH has supported NNPs like yourself — matching qualified practitioners with employers searching for temporary assistance.


Share your stories! If you have worked, or are currently working, as a locum tenens, we’d love to hear your impressions. Please leave your comments in the section below!



locum tenens