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2022 State of Health Care Report: Radiation Oncology Locum Placements

2022 State of Health Care Report: Radiation Oncology Locum Placements

2022 State of Health Care Report: Radiation Oncology Locum Placements

Short-term radiation oncology positions are unique. They require qualified candidates who can easily shift into transient roles and deliver quality work on a nonpermanent basis. Effective recruitment is about filling these holes and connecting health care facilities with the right employees. Carl Newcomb understands the nuances of these temporary placements. As a longtime radiation oncology consultant with Epic Specialty Staffing, he’s got plenty of valuable insights when it comes to locum positions.

How Has the Pandemic Impacted Recruiting in this Space?

Covid has affected the health care industry at large, especially where frontline workers are concerned. While there’s been a ripple effect into radiation oncology, Newcomb sees it as a smaller part of an overarching cycle.

“I think Covid is one of the many things that comes and goes, but recruiting does have its own cycles,” he says. “Sometimes there are more candidates than jobs, and other times there are more jobs than candidates. Those two facts are the only things that make much of a difference.”

With that said, lots of people were reluctant to travel during the height of the pandemic. This effectively thinned the locum candidate pool, which made it challenging to fill short-term roles in different pockets of the country. Newcomb sees that easing up a bit as folks become more comfortable getting back out there again.

What Trends Are You Seeing in Locum Radiation Oncology?

There’s a huge demand for radiation therapists right now—and Newcomb says that candidates are in control. This is somewhat due to the pandemic. When Covid hit, a wave of seasoned therapists saw it as an opportunity to retire. Lots of cancer patients also put their treatments on hold because they didn’t want to take the risk of contracting the virus, but things are changing now. Newcomb says that many cancer patients are ready to resume their treatments. The main problem is that there’s a therapist shortage.

“Health care facilities have been inundated with all their cancer patients coming back. It’s been like a surge,” he says. “Now facilities are at maximum capacity and only have half the therapists. Even if you’re an average therapist, you’re going to find gainful employment somewhere.”

Newcomb adds that candidates are being more selective. They aren’t jumping on the first job they come across. Instead, they’re interviewing repeatedly for multiple assignments until they find one that feels like the best fit.

“We have many clients clamoring for candidates now,” he says. “Demand for workers is high, so it’s a good time to be a locum.”

How Are Facilities Handling the Demand for Candidates?

Health care facilities are stepping up and offering more robust compensation packages to locum candidates. It’s been an effective strategy for filling short-term roles located in less desirable locations—like a snowy city in the middle of winter. Newcomb says it comes down to enticing them enough to consider the job. Money isn’t the only bargaining chip. He says that facilities with newer technology are also at an advantage.

Newcomb is helping bridge these gaps by maintaining relationships with licensed, qualified candidates—then connecting them with the right health care facilities. Epic Specialty Staffing has a solid reputation within radiation oncology, which helps make it a smooth process for both parties.

“We have a wide and very deep footprint with all the health care centers, especially the cancer centers,” he says. “During the lean times, they rely on us. During the bountiful times, they tend to take our calls first.”

An unfortunate reality is that cancer touches all of us at some point.  When someone we love gets sick, the only thing that matters is finding them the best care. There will always be a need to fight the symptoms and work toward a cure. In this way, Newcomb says that radiation oncology is somewhat insulated from economic declines.

“Other industries may be suffering, but we’re still going gangbusters,” he added.

Epic Specialty Staffing is playing a key part, placing in-demand locum candidates where they’re needed most.

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