Contract Government Opportunities for Advanced Practice Professionals
Advanced Practitioners who seek a variety of clinical work
experience are encouraged to consider locum tenens (temporary)
assignments with government agencies and medical treatment
facilities. Here are some handy tips to keep in mind when accepting
Many different practice options are available to qualified nurse
practitioners and physician assistants who express an interest in
treating patients in government medical settings:
- Veterans Affairs clinics and hospitals (all are teaching
- U.S. military installations
- Indian Health medical treatment facilities
- Correctional institutions (State & Federal)
- State hospitals and mental health agencies
- Public colleges and universities
- Federal agencies such as the CDC, National Institutes of
- Length of assignments:They vary from one week to several
months, or longer. In some cases, the contract may be extended
beyond one year. Long-term assignments offer guaranteed
income, which is especially appealing to many advanced
practitioners in this downturn economy.
- Locums-to-perm options: Recruiters make special mention of
these opportunities when they become available. Increasingly,
medical providers find this option attractive in that they have the
chance to "test drive" a practice before signing a permanent
- Government contracts are awarded following competitive bidding.
This means that the daily pay rate for providers is "competitive"
within the healthcare industry, though not necessarily matching
what commercial hospitals or medical groups may be prepared to pay
for similar services.
- Contract providers are paid weekly for authorized hours worked
and signed-off by an on-site clinical supervisor. (Government
assignments do not guarantee a 40-hour work week.) Some assignments
offer extra income through overtime or on-call responsibilities.
Your recruiter will discuss these matters prior to your acceptance
of a contract assignment.
- Agreed-upon hourly or daily compensation rates are set at the
start of the contract and are "firm and fixed" for the duration of
the contract. However, long-term contracts extending more than a
year may stipulate a rate increase at the annual renewal date.
- Government organizations expect candidates to be thoroughly
qualified and pre-credentialed before being presented for placement
consideration. Our credentialing staff ensures that all candidates
meet this important evaluation criterion. Competition is keen and
it is not unusual to have 20 or more candidates being considered
for one job slot.
- After candidates are screened, pre-credentialed and presented
for an assignment, the healthcare organization selects whom they
want to provide medical services. At that point, our schedulers
handle all the details associated with the advanced practitioner
beginning his or her assignment on time. We pay for airfare,
comfortable lodging, and car rental(or mileage reimbursement).
- Scheduling includes on-site orientation. This may last several
days or up to one week. The purpose is to ensure that providers are
familiar with all aspects of the clinical work setting and feel
comfortable when they begin to treat patients.
Advanced Practitioners who regularly accept locum tenens
assignments mention how beneficial the "locum lifestyle" is for
- They can work as often or seldom as they choose.
- Travel options extend across the U.S., Alaska and Hawaii.
- Treating different patient populations, they become more
"culturally competent" as caregivers.
- Furthermore, their careers are enhanced by working in a variety
of practice settings with state-of-the-art medical equipment, along
side distinguished medical professionals.
- Even after accepting a full-time position, they may choose to
earn extra income through locum tenens "moonlighting"