Use Locums to Balance Nonclinical Work
This is Part 2 of my interview with Andrew Wilner about living the locum life. You can find Part 1 at How to Weave Medicine into a Dedicated Writer's Life.
When he decided to return to clinical medicine, Andrew discovered a wide-open locum tenens market for all specialties, even neurologists! Lucky for him, the opportunities for finding work had exploded during the previous decade.
“I liked the idea that I would show up, work 100% of the time, and then stop,” said Andrew. “Then, I can go back to the Philippines and go diving and work on my next book.”
Downside of a Locum Tenens Lifestyle
But moving from place to place to practice has its downsides. Andrew describes the tedious credentialing, licensing, and CME credit challenges that come with the bureaucracy of medicine. And you must plan well to avoid long periods without work. The locum life definitely has its challenges.
At one point, Andrew had licenses in 10 states. It got to be overwhelming to keep them up, renew them, meet CME requirements, and track different expiration dates dates and fees.
No Longer Taken for Granted
Wherever he went, Andrew’s experience with locums has been similar. The places have modern information systems, excellent imaging technology and a welcoming attitude.
The one thing about the locum life that he didn't anticipate was feeling very appreciated. You're showing up where they really need you. You're not angling for the job. They're signing you because they need you now: “Oh, welcome Dr. Wilner. We're so glad you're here.”
According to Andrew, “They're often ecstatic that you're there. All you have to do is a good job and they love you. It’s fantastic!”
This podcast is made possible by the University of Tennessee Physician Executive MBA Program offered by the Haslam College of Business. You’ll remember that I interviewed Dr. Kate Atchley, the Executive Director of the program, in Episode #25 of this podcast.
The UT PEMBA is the longest running, and most highly respected physician-only MBA in the country, with over 650 graduates. Unlike most other ranked programs, which typically have a duration of 18 to 24 months, this program only takes a year to complete. And, it’s offered by the business school that was recently ranked #1 in the world for the Most Relevant Executive MBA program, by Economist magazine.
University of Tennessee PEMBA students bring exceptional value to their organizations by contributing at the highest level while earning their degree. The curriculum includes a number of major assignments and a company project, both of which are structured to immediately apply to each student’s organization.
Graduates have taken leadership positions at major healthcare organizations and have become entrepreneurs and business owners. If you want to acquire the business and management skills needed to advance your nonclinical career, contact Dr. Kate Atchley’s office by calling (865) 974-6526 or going to vitalpe.net/physicianmba.
Attraction of the Locum Life
Depending on your stage in life, doctors are more attracted to certain locum tenens opportunities than others. According to Andrew’s book, The Locum Life, A Physician's Guide to Locum Tenens, most locums physicians are over 50, or don’t even try locums until they're over 50.
Sometimes, physicians work locums as a moonlighting option because they can't be bouncing around for months from place to place. They've got kids, a mortgage, and a whole system that revolves around them. But, they need to make some extra money. In that situation, it's a way of supplementing income.
It’s also a way to explore a new clinical practice. Do you feel stuck? Don’t work enough hours or too many hours? Are you burned out or unhappy?
Maybe there's something better out there. By doing locums, you can experience other options and possibly move to a different job. You can use locums to achieve a healthy work-life balance. It worked for Andrew, allowing him to continue writing and practice medicine.
Guidebook to Locum Tenens
Andrew’s book, The Locum Life: A Physician's Guide to Locum Tenens, is for doctors interested in taking the locum tenens path. He offers practical guidance drawn from his own experiences on what to expect and what to do. It's a very comprehensive “rule book” for successfully integrating locum tenens into your life.
Andrew advises us: “Don't be afraid to experiment. Understand that you always have options. If you're not happy in what you're doing, then you should definitely explore other opportunities.”
Links for today's episode:
Thanks to our sponsor…
Thanks to the UT Physician Executive MBA program for sponsoring the show. It’s an outstanding, highly rated, MBA program designed for working physicians. It might be just what you need to prepare for that joyful, well-paying career. You can find out more at vitalpe.net/physicianmba.
I hope to see you next time on the PNC Podcast.
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The opinions expressed here are mine and my guest’s. While the information provided on the podcast is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge, there is no express or implied guarantee that using the methods discussed here will lead to success in your career, life or business.
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