Experts predict that in 2023 the number of healthcare professionals, like primary care doctors and nurse practitioners (NPs), who are working locum tenens jobs is expected to grow, in large part due to staffing shortages that worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. For healthcare facilities, utilizing locum tenens healthcare professionals allows them to get creative about tackling staffing issues like shortages or burnout. Two common types of locum tenens healthcare professionals are nurse practitioners and primary care doctors. In this article, we are breaking down the differences between the two positions, and how utilizing locum tenens healthcare professionals can benefit your facility.


A locum tenens primary care doctor or nurse practitioner is a healthcare professional who provides temporary medical coverage for a healthcare facility or practice. Locum tenens healthcare professionals can be used to fill a variety of roles, including covering for permanent healthcare professionals who are on vacation, sick leave, or maternity leave, providing relief for overworked staff, expanding the services offered by a healthcare facility, and addressing unexpected staffing shortages.


As mentioned above, primary care doctors and nurse practitioners are both common types of locum tenens healthcare professionals, and while they both can help healthcare facilities meet staffing needs, the positions are different in the type of training they receive and the type of patient care they provide.

These differences include:

  • Education and Training: Doctors undergo extensive education and training. They typically complete a four-year undergraduate program, followed by four years of medical school. Afterward, they enter a residency program, which lasts for several years, focusing on a specific medical specialty. Meantime, nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who have completed a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing. They usually have a nursing background and clinical experience as registered nurses before pursuing advanced education and training. NPs fall into a group of healthcare professionals called advanced practice practitioners (APPs), which in addition to providing patient care, can help organizations improve access to care.
  • Scope of Practice: Doctors have a broad scope of practice. They diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medications, perform medical procedures and surgeries, and provide comprehensive medical care. They can work independently and make complex medical decisions. Nurse practitioners have a more focused scope of practice. They can diagnose and treat common illnesses, order and interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe medications (varies by jurisdiction), and provide primary and specialty care. NPs often work collaboratively with doctors, which is leading to NPs becoming integral members of healthcare organizations that are switching to a team-based care model.
  • Approach to Care: Doctors typically follow a disease-centered approach to care, focusing on diagnosing and treating specific medical conditions. Nurse practitioners, however, often adopt a more holistic and patient-centered approach to care. They emphasize health promotion, disease prevention, and health education. NPs often spend more time with patients and can forge deeper relationships, allowing them to better focus on a patient’s overall well-being including addressing their physical, emotional, and social health.

When deciding whether your healthcare facility should be utilizing locum tenens primary care doctors or nurse practitioners, it is important to consider the type of care you need to provide, the cost of contracting for these locum tenens healthcare professionals, the availability of qualified candidates, and the needs of your patients.


Whether your healthcare facility is looking for a locum tenens primary care doctor or nurse practitioner, bringing in these types of professionals can provide many benefits. Some of the benefits include:

  • Improved patient care: Locum tenens healthcare professionals can help to ensure that patients continue to receive high-quality care even when there are staffing shortages.
  • Increased efficiency: Locum tenens workers also help boost your facility’s efficiency by freeing up permanent healthcare professionals to focus on other tasks, like research and education.
  • Reduced costs: Facilities can reduce costs by utilizing locum tenens healthcare professionals because they allow facilities to provide temporary coverage at a lower cost than hiring a permanent staff member.
  • Greater flexibility: Locum tenens healthcare professionals can help facilities be more flexible by allowing them to expand or contract their staffing as needed.
  • Access to specialized expertise: Locum tenens workers can allow facilities to bring on healthcare professionals with specialized expertise, when a full-time option is not needed.
  • Improved morale: Locum tenens healthcare professionals can help to improve morale among permanent staff by providing relief from burnout and providing new perspectives.
  • Enhanced marketing: Healthcare facilities can use locum tenens healthcare professionals to market their services to new patients in other areas.


As a member of The National Association of Locum Tenens Organization (NALTO), Maxim Staffing understands what healthcare organizations need when staffing locum tenens. Once an organization has chosen to partner with Maxim for their staffing needs, our team jumpstarts the recruitment process. We have a large nationwide team of dedicated recruiters with access to our massive database of candidates, helping streamline recruitment and onboarding so healthcare organizations can focus on what really matters: the health of their patients.

In addition to our industry experience and dedicated recruiters, reasons to choose Maxim as a locum tenens recruiting agency include:

  • Specialized recruitment and delivery
  • Competitive pay and benefit offerings
  • Flexible length of assignments
  • A local presence with a national reach

For over thirty years, Maxim Staffing has been committed to furthering the careers of healthcare professionals, including locum tenens. Our Maxim team understands the challenges that healthcare facilities face every day, and we have the tools necessary to connect your organizations with the right locum tenens professionals. Let’s work together to find qualified locum tenens healthcare professionals for your organization.