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How To Work Your Way into Physician Jobs in Alaska

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Alaska has a dire need for physicians. Despite the beauty and benefits, the state has a great shortage, and there is no massive rush to travel there. A recommendation as a new graduate is to take the opportunity to try a stint as locum tenens, traveling to Alaska to experience the magnificence.

One doctor did that a few decades ago and remains a permanent physician to this day.

The practice of locum tenens is not for everyone, but once you seek permanent physician jobs in Alaska at a clinic or hospital, all that changes. Until then, you can negotiate contracts, which you must do to accommodate your needs better.

How To Work Toward a Physician Career in Alaska

If you’re native to Alaska, you can attend a prestigious medical school to get your doctorate in medicine. However, the student ratio for producing professionals could be higher with an extreme shortage of doctors in the state.

In order to encourage new graduates to travel to Alaska to witness first-hand the beauty and the benefits of working in that atmosphere, it’s suggested that they be encouraged to take a trial, possibly starting as locum tenens in the region to get the whole experience.

Typically, locums are sent to remote locations in areas like Alaska, where physician demand is high. The Locum Tenen’s purpose is to fill these vacancies briefly or over a longer term. Usually, the practice or hospital will contract with a third-party agency to arrange the locum tenens.

The physician is provided travel expenses, malpractice coverage, and an hourly pay rate for the assignment. They typically receive compensation for lodging and travel expenses, which can include funding for car rental.

Before agreeing to the terms and conditions, the physician negotiates these to ensure they meet specific needs. Learn about Alaska’s doctor shortage at

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The Rules of a Physician Trial with Locum Tenens

When considering a physician career in Alaska and assuming a trial stint as locum tenens to test the waters, it can be a fulfilling experience. The objective is to meet the needs of the clinic or hospital to which you’ll be assigned. This will give you a feel for life as a physician in the region.

Again, when negotiating terms and conditions, ensure a clause allowing you to transition to a different facility if the clinic or hospital isn’t the right fit. You’ll also want the option of extending the contract if you’re pleased with the practice and the team finds you compatible with their facility.

These practices are desperately seeking physicians, so often, contracts can be extended with little hassle.

As a rule, you want to add a clause that you receive your pay weekly to avoid any delays in receiving payment at the end of your assignment. This way, the practice can see that you’re being paid and can rally for your compensation if there are any difficulties in receiving it. Read salary ranges for physicians in Alaska here.

Tips For Negotiating the Agreement

When you decide to take a trial run as a locum tenens on your path to determining if a physician career in Alaska is the right choice for you, the hospital or clinic that you’ll be working within the state will set up a contract with a third-party agency to schedule you to work with their facility if you carry the appropriate license.

You will establish an agreement with the agency disclosing specific terms and conditions that should meet your needs. If you find things that are unsatisfactory or want to add to the details or take some stuff out of the agreement, it’s important to do so in writing.

If a phrase or line in the context needs to be deleted, cross through it with a pen using your initials and date to legalize the correction. When adding to the agreement, print legibly so it can be interpreted and, again, initial and date the revision. You’ll want to date each page and initial these in a corner of the page.

When the revisions are complete, present it to the agent for an overview and countersigning. No assignment should begin until the agency or the clinic or hospital has signed this document, which denotes they agree to your revisions.

A positive locum experience will be one where your needs and those of the facility are met. When you can concentrate on your role as a physician and enjoy the surrounding environment, you could find this the perfect place to settle permanently.

Final Thought

New doctors have the benefit of traveling anywhere in the world to practice. Many don’t realize how much Alaska offers, and the state suffers a dire shortage of physicians. In order to help new graduates recognize the beauty and the benefits, a trial stint could ultimately lead to a permanent placement.

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04/21/2024 09:33 pm GMT

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