‘Locum tenens’ is a Latin phrase meaning ‘taking or holding a place for.’ The term is used to refer a place-holder, a person who temporarily performs the duties of another. For example, a locum doctor is a physician who works in place of the regular doctor when that doctor is absent. A locum doctor may be appointed when the hospital is short staffed.
‘Locum Tenens’ is often abbreviated as ‘locum.’ The abbreviated form is common in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the U.K. However, in the U.S., the full term ‘locum tenens’ is preferred.