Among the long list of advertised benefits of full-time locum work is the opportunity to travel. Locum doctors and nurses can travel across the country or across the globe. It is even possible that some full-time locums have chosen the medical version of piece work specifically because they want to combine their careers with a love of travel. So here’s a question: can the travel required for locum tenens work be good for your health?
Over the years, there have been numerous scientific studies looking at travel and its potential health benefits. Of course, the vast majority of the studies have dealt with leisure travel. We are talking about taking that long European vacation or going on the cruise you have always dreamed of. Still, there is sufficient reason to ask if the same benefits can be applied to locum tenens travel.
No one really knows if the two kinds of travel are substantially equivalent. But let’s just say, for the sake of this discussion, that they are. Working as a traveling locum may be good for your health for a number of different reasons.
Travel Reduces Stress
Research from 2005 shows that travelers feel less anxious, more rested, and in a better mood in the days immediately following a trip. Those effects tend to last for weeks as well. This particular benefit might be offset if a locum finds him/herself on a stressful assignment he/she regrets taking. But that aside, it could be that the pleasure of travel makes the locum less stressed.
Travel Can Boost Your Immune System
Another scientific study implied that frequent travel has the potential to boost your immune system by exposing you to different environments. This makes complete sense from a biological standpoint. The locum doctor who frequently changes environments will be exposed to all sorts of airborne pathogens. This should, in theory, boost his/her immune system over time.
Travel Stimulates Your Brain
Just like the body is exposed to new pathogens with travel, the brain is exposed to new ideas and new people. This stimulates the brain as long as a person doesn’t shut him/herself out from everything and everyone around them. Numerous scientific studies have shown a link between travel and increased creativity as well. As the thinking goes, creativity increases commensurate with the person’s exposure to different people and new ideas.
Travel Encourages Fitness
Once the actual journey of getting where you are going is over, travel tends to encourage fitness by getting people out and about. This is true even for the locum. Let’s face it, the locum professional does not carry his/her entire home on the road. So there’s only so much he or she can do hanging around his/her temporary housing. This encourages the locum to get out and do things when not on duty. The result is a greater tendency toward overall fitness.
Travel Increases Life Expectancy
Finally, scientific research has shown that people who travel frequently tend to live longer. The theory here is related to all the previously mentioned benefits, and more. Because travel reduces stress, boosts the immune system, stimulates the brain, and encourages fitness, people who travel frequently are less susceptible to injuries and diseases that would otherwise end their lives earlier.
Regular travel is generally accepted as a way to improve one’s overall health. Whether the benefits of travel apply to the kind of travel locums are familiar with is unknown. But if there is any possibility that travel could improve the health of locum tenens physicians, would that not be another reason to go locum full-time?