On-call positions do come up quite often for hospital systems that utilize in-house acupuncture providers. The raison d’être is to allow for coverage for part-time and full-time practitioners that are out of the office. This is called “backfill” in terms of the department’s budget and it allows the department to offer continual service in the absence of one or more of its practitioners.
But why would someone seeking part-time of full-time work with a hospital as an acupuncturist want to apply for this kind of position? In short, it gets your foot in the door. The credentialing process for all employees (of any status, including on-call) is the same. It’s a lengthy process that takes usually 2-3 months to complete. Having been credentialed and having gone through new employee orientation and training means that you are now in the hospital system.
Furthermore, those in charge of hiring for acupuncture departments in hospitals are more likely to hire from within. There’s less time and expense to hiring someone who is already credentialed and trained that it is to start from scratch. I personally know of at least 2 acupuncturists who have used this strategy to secure either a part-time or full-time position within Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California region.
Up to this point, my department has not had “backfill” in our budget. I have recently requested that this be included in our 2015 budget. Hopefully this will be granted and if so, I will have created an on-call position for our medical center. Without an on-call acupuncturist, my patients must go without treatment every time I take vacation days or fall ill.
Furthermore, if the powers that be decide to expand our acupuncture services, that on-call acupuncturist will have a great shot at being hired into a permanent position. Believe me, I would love nothing more than to grow my department into something bigger than a one-practitioner acupuncture clinic! I hope this post changes your perspective of these positions. Keep on the look out for on-call positions opening up in the future.