Moonlighting as a Doctor: a Guide to the Pros & Cons

July 8, 2022

If you are considering a medical moonlighting job, you might be interested in learning more about the pros and cons of these opportunities. The professionals at OnCall Staffing are here with insight. 

Pros of Moonlighting as a Doctor

Why moonlight as a doctor or resident? There are several benefits you can expect to reap from moonlighting opportunities, including extra income, networking opportunities, new experiences, and increased autonomy. Let’s take a closer look at these 4 pros of moonlighting.

Extra Income

Naturally, one of the most popular benefits of moonlighting is the extra income it provides. Moonlighting shifts tend to pay higher than traditional shifts—helping you make the most of your time on the clock. Working just a few moonlighting shifts each month can substantially boost your overall earnings. 

Networking and Future Employment Prospects

Whether you are a resident preparing to apply for a permanent position or a doctor considering a job change—moonlighting can help. Picking up moonlighting shifts at other institutions provides valuable networking opportunities. You can experience the different clinics, hospitals, staff communities, and job benefits available in your area firsthand. Once you find the right fit, you will have connections who can help you easily land your desired position. 

New Experiences

Have you reached a lull at your hospital or clinic? Perhaps you are interested in seeing what is out there? Maybe you are a resident hoping to gain experience that your home institution cannot provide? Moonlighting is the perfect way to gain exposure to new experiences. These opportunities allow you to learn new things, meet new people, test new work environments, and keep your job engaging without a full-time commitment.

Increased Autonomy

Doctors and residents often have limited control when navigating the fast-paced medical industry. Moonlighting puts a little more agency in your hands—letting you manage your pay, your extra shift schedule, your work location, and often the areas of the medical field you choose to practice within. 

Residents and trainees can also experience more autonomy in making patient decisions—while still having help at their fingertips. It creates the ideal circumstances for exploring and expanding your comfort zone in a safe, autonomous environment. 

Cons of Moonlighting as a Doctor

Before jumping on board with moonlighting, these opportunities do require some consideration. Thankfully, moonlighting does not come with an extended commitment. If you find yourself facing the downsides of this practice, you can simply choose to cut down or stop picking up moonlighting shifts altogether. Here is a look at three potential drawbacks of medical moonlighting. 

Additional Work

As a doctor or resident—free time can be sparse. Signing up for moonlighting shifts can mean longer hours, added stress, fewer days off, and more time away from home. While many moonlighters find this practice well worth the resulting benefits, it is certainly not for everyone. 

With a platform like OnCall, you can unlock complete control over your moonlighting shifts—planning them only when you have the extra time for additional work. 

Meeting Program Requirements

When moonlighting as a resident, your program will have requirements you must meet and educational programs you must attend. Additionally, the ACGME limits residents to 80-hour work week averages—which includes moonlighting hours. 

If you are not careful, moonlighting work can get in the way of your residency—and might leave a bad taste in your program director’s mouth. Working with a program like OnCall can help balance your schedule and ensure you do not exceed your mandated program restrictions. 

Liability and Malpractice Risks

The more hours you work, the higher your chances are of encountering some medical workplace liability. While your home institution will provide malpractice insurance coverage, moonlighting at other institutions may leave you vulnerable to liability in the case of a malpractice claim. If you have to pay out of pocket for insurance, it can cut into your bottom line.

It is vital to choose a moonlighting partner that covers malpractice insurance. OnCall, for example, includes moonlighting malpractice insurance—including tail coverage— to our staff at no additional cost

Tax Considerations

Moonlighting can add some modest complexity to paying taxes for physicians.. Unlike regular income, moonlighting pay often holds a 1099 tax status—and is delivered without taxes withheld. Instead, you will have to pay these taxes quarterly or in a lump sum during tax season. 

Naturally, most medical professionals leave this work to their tax professionals. However, you may want to set aside money from your moonlighting paychecks to cover your tax season balance.

OnCall Staffing: Your Moonlighting Solution

If you are interested in learning more about moonlighting or you are ready to get started, OnCall Staffing can help. We help doctors, physicians, physician assistants, and nurses reap the benefits of moonlighting and Locum Tenens positions. Our experts will streamline the credentialing process and connect you with moonlighting opportunities in your area. You can contact OnCall Staffing to get started today!

Other articles

RC Capital Completes First Fund VII Investment in OnCall Staffing

RC Capital Completes First Fund VII Investment in OnCall Staffing

August 12, 2022
RC Capital Completes Growth Equity Investment in OnCall Staffing to Address Healthcare Staffing Needs
Read more
What is a Locum Hospitalist?

What is a Locum Hospitalist?

August 10, 2022
What is a locum hospitalist? Is this kind of medical moonlighting position right for me? The experts at OnCall Staffing are here with insight.
Read more
Locum Tenens Salaries and Moonlighting Salaries: How Much Money Can You Make?

Locum Tenens Salaries and Moonlighting Salaries: How Much Money Can You Make?

July 26, 2022
One of the biggest questions many medical professionals have is, “How much money can I make as a locum or moonlighter?” The experts at OnCall Staffing are here with a look at locum tenens salaries.
Read more