Transitioning to Practice

Transitioning from residency to full-time practice can be overwhelming. PARA has compiled a list of resources that will help make your transition to practice go as smooth as possible.

Click here to browse hundreds of job postings in all areas and disciplines on the Alberta Health Services’ job board.

The Alberta Medical Association (AMA) has gathered resources to help you with this important time in your career, from certification and licensing requirements, to choosing how you want to practice. You can find all of their transition resources on their website.

The CMA’s New in Practice guide covers important issues for transitioning into practice, such as the business side of medicine, evaluating practice opportunities medical billing, financial planning and insurance and medical law. Read the latest edition.

The transition from residency to independent practice is an important milestone. You have earned your place in the profession by demonstrating your medical knowledge and skills. The bond of trust between physicians and their patients also compels the highest standards of professionalism and ethics.

The CPSA supports physicians in meeting these standards. Along with the CMA Code of Ethics, Alberta physicians are accountable to the CPSA Standards of Practice and Code of Conduct. You can access these documents as well as advice on implementing the standards and other resources on the CPSA website. The CPSA also encourages all physicians to take an active role in profession-led regulation. Learn more at

AMA Physician Locum Services (PLS) is an option, for general practice and specialist graduates to gain valuable and diverse practice experience, while providing essential medical services to rural Albertans.  For fellows, PLS locum coverage is a great way to maintain skills and earn extra income during continuing clinical training, regardless of training location.  PLS locum coverage allows your rural colleagues to get a needed break from practice.

PLS is a totally flexible practice arrangement that does not preclude physicians from doing private locums or other work.  PLS’ flexibility allows locum physicians to “try-out” the program without being locked into a service commitment.  When providing PLS locum service, physicians set their own schedule and choose their service locations. There is no term of service, nor any amount of coverage required from locum physicians. Additionally, there is no cost to join or work through PLS, and PLS does not retain any portion of your patient billings.

PLS receives coverage requests from physicians in eligible communities and communicates these coverage requests to locum physicians. Locum physicians contact PLS if there are locum assignments of interest. Locums have the opportunity to directly contact the physician requesting the locum coverage, to discuss coverage details. If the locum physician decides to provide the requested coverage, PLS staff will book travel and facilitate the paperwork associated with the locum assignment.

Working through PLS eliminates the need to negotiate the terms and conditions of locum coverage. As an overview of PLS benefits, a minimum daily income guarantee is provided by PLS. PLS also pays locum travel costs, including flights and/or rental cars, or a mileage allowance for private vehicle use. PLS makes travel arrangements for you based on your preferences. Remuneration and benefits from Alberta locum opportunities are also available to physicians based in other provinces, and most areas of the United States. Travel costs are subsidized or fully covered.

In addition to payment of the guarantee and coverage of travel costs, a travel honorarium is paid: $250 for travel of less than four hours; $500 for travel of more than four hours i.e. $500 to $1,000 for your round trip. Accommodation is generally provided free of charge by Alberta Health Services or the local physician. Locums also receive benefits such as Rural Remote Northern Program (RRNP) premiums to their claims payments, for service provided in eligible communities.

With PLS, locums can work in a variety of locations, for which they receive excellent remuneration. Family medicine locum coverage is provided to more than sixty smaller communities across the province. Locum coverage requests are varied, and depending upon the community, can be for coverage of a 12- or 24-hour shift, a weekend, or up to four weeks duration. Specialist locum coverage is primarily provided to the regional centres outside Calgary and Edmonton (Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, Grand Prairie, and Fort McMurray). PLS locum physicians who are new to practice, comment on the benefits of exposure to the varied professional experience across many diverse practice environments. PLS locum opportunities include provision of clinic and/or ER coverage in practices ranging from solo family practitioner offices, ARPs and multi-physician clinics, or provision of specialist service in one of more than a dozen specialties. The rural physicians/specialists receiving PLS locum coverage continue to express their appreciation of locum coverage, and in some cases, state that ongoing PLS locum relief is essential to their continued practice in rural areas.

After each assignment, locum physicians submit their billings to PLS, and PLS provides immediate payment of a travel honoraria and income guarantee, along with claims/on-call exceeding the income guarantee. Ongoing assistance is provided to locums to help understand the Alberta Schedule of Medical Benefits, and to facilitate optimal locum billing.

Locum application forms and additional information about PLS appears on the AMA website at .

Take some of the pressure off yourself by knowing what you will do this summer, and possibly into the longer term. Plan now to provide locum services through the AMA Physician Locum Services. We would like to work with you!

More information: or 800-272-9680 extension 3366.

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada has a number of clinical/professional development resources available to those transitioning to practice. You can find all of their transition resources on their website.


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