You've gotten the itch to place your feet on new land, you know that much. But where to go? Take our fun, short, seven-question quiz to find out where you should head off to on your next international locum tenens assignment.
Locums for a Small World Blog
You've gotten the itch to place your feet on new land, you know that much. But where to go? Take our fun, short, seven-question quiz to find out where you should head off to on your next international locum tenens assignment.
What inspires you most in this life? Ask that question to any number of people across many professions and you’ll probably get a different answer each time. Pose that same inquiry to a room full of doctors and we imagine that some aspect of their answers will include the words “helping others.”
Go ahead. Take a minute to answer that question for yourself. In fact, to go about it a slightly different way: what inspired you to become a doctor? Don’t limit it to just one reason, either. To gain medical knowledge and a comprehensive, problem-solving skillset all in an effort to heal others and be of service to society is a noble – albeit arduous – pursuit. But that’s only one component of your answer, right?
We know your desires go deeper because all of our reasons for choosing our unique career paths in life go deeper. Perhaps for you it is the altruism, or your insatiable interest in science and medicine, or that it’s a well-respected field, or you come from a family of doctors, or that it’s a stable career path with great earning potential. Heck, it could very well be all of the above or an entirely different answer altogether.
But at the end of a demanding day in an industry where burnout rates are on the rise and patient care never stops sometimes you have to remind yourself of your reasons in order to stay afloat. Other days you need a little more motivation outside of mentally cataloguing why you started in the first place.
A change in scenery is just what, well, you ordered. And we mean that as conceptual as possible. Something as seemingly small as going for a daily walk or something much bigger like taking that huge vacation you’ve been wanting to for years. Or something even more crucial like changing career paths, finally trying out locum tenens for want of the perks you’re afforded. All three of those “changes in scenery” can be accomplished all at once. In other words you could go for a daily walk in an idyllic island country by taking an international locum tenens assignment.
In an effort to see whether or not you’re at a point in your life where taking a medical job overseas makes sense we’ve come up with these three foolproof questions that will help clear your mind. They’re not scientific by any means; they’re simply honest questions that we’ve compiled from all our years of sending doctors abroad.
First and foremost, do you feel burnt out? (Y/N)
We suspect that you’ve heard at least some form of burnout talk – whether colloquially or as a real condition at some point in you’re medical career. Maybe you’ve already experienced some symptoms yourself. Keep in mind that it’s not a phenomenon that solely affects the medical field, either. Many professionals have been impacted by burnout.
Christina Maslach, a Stanford social psychologist, developed a cohesive assessment tool many years ago concerning professional burnout. It’s called Maslach Burnout Inventory and it addresses three general scales:
- Emotional exhaustion: Measures feelings of being emotionally overextended and exhausted by one’s work;
- Depersonalization: Measures an unfeeling and impersonal response toward recipients of one’s service, care treatment, or instruction;
- Personal accomplishment: Measures feelings of competence and successful achievement in one’s work.
If you feel emotionally overextended, dispassionate about your work, or have a low sense of personal accomplishment then you may be feeling symptoms of burnout. These are real issues that should be taken seriously. And there are solutions out there outside of an international locum tenens assignment: take time to seek out professional help (yes even doctors need someone to talk to), get restful sleep, exercise frequently, etc. (You can find out more about solutions here.) If you’ve tried everything you can think of then maybe a change of scenery is what you need next.
Have you recently gained more free time in your personal life? (Y/N)
There’s no doubt about it; the road to becoming a physician is physically, emotionally and financially demanding to say the least. And that’s not counting the balancing act you have to perform with your personal life along the way.
But let’s say life is slowing down a bit. Maybe you’re still living the bachelor life right out of residency and you want to experience an adventure in New Zealand before you take on a full-time pursuit in the States. Or maybe you’re nearing retirement and considering a sabbatical of sorts in Australia. Or maybe, just maybe, you’re mid-career and your kids want a new experience, too. (The public school systems down under are top-notch and they do accept foreign students often.)
Do you want more freedom in your schedule and control over your work life? (Y/N)
Who is really going to say no to that? Locum tenens gives physicians of all specialties the ability to go where they're needed. And there are a lot of needs around the world. There are limitations at times (e.g., if a position closes or if a need doesn't currently exist in a specific location) but for the most part you get control over where you want to practice and when. On top of that you get more freedom to treat patients. That means you spend less time handling paperwork and processes typically associated with a non-locum-tenens pursuit.
If you answered yes to any of these questions then a medical adventure overseas may be just the journey for you. But if you're still feeling indecisive then we’d like to throw these last two queries your way:
Do you want to see how doctors in different countries deliver care, in other words, would you like to diversify your medical knowledge? (Y/N)
Do you enjoy travel and experiencing other cultures? (Y/N)
It’s possible that all of this has left you with even more ambivalence. Never fear. Our physician placement specialists are here to help. Pick up the phone and give us a call. Or if you're ready to start looking now then click the orange button below to see what opportunities are available.
Where you travel in the U.S. largely depends on what types of destinations you’re attracted to. It goes without saying that If you’re a beach-lover then you'll head to one of the coasts. If you have an affinity for the desert then you'll try the southwest; it will most certainly fascinate you. Are you in search of mountains? Then you'll want to venture toward Colorado, the Rockies. Do you yearn for great lake scenery? Then Minnesota will be your next stop on the list. Of course if you’re looking for that thick green forest then the Pacific Northwest is always a welcoming haven.
What’s our point? If your heart desires a specific landscape then there’s no reason for you as a locum tenens doctor to not seek out these types of locations. Still there’s more to choosing an assignment than just the scenery. There are other factors you should consider like: What city should I practice in and why? What kind of compensation will I receive? What is the cost of living? Will this assignment turn from temporary to permanent if I end up liking it?
These are all pertinent questions that the following blog will address. (And if not then you can always request more information from us.) In fact, Medscape puts out a yearly review of Best and Worst Places to Practice exactly with these kinds of things in mind. So if you’re new to locum tenens then you should consider reading their 2016 list. Otherwise we’ll fill you in on our own seven favorite locations to practice medicine in the U.S. Discover all of them below (in no particular order).
The Midwest is grossly underestimated. Take Minnesota: sure the winters can be tough but not so tough that you can’t see the beauty in the frozen tundra still. No worries though. The summers here are amazing. There are lakes and beaches galore. Plus for those doctors seeking a good career path anywhere near the big cities – like Minneapolis for example – you’ll find excellent compensation plus low malpractice payouts according to Medscape’s 2016 article. What else will you find? Great health industry employers like the Mayo Clinic, UnitedHealth Group and St. Jude Medical to name a few.
Again, harkening back to our last point, the Midwest is underrated. Most people think of the cold, oncoming winter when it comes to this region of the U.S. Rarely do people see the allure of the Great Lakes nearby and the countless state parks like Hocking Hills State Park which houses Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave and Cedar Falls.
Still the bigger cities in Ohio hold more allure than you think. Columbus, for one, has an affordable cost of living plus great job opportunities. Medscape states “Ohio’s physician density hovers slightly above the national average (279.8 vs. 265.5 per 100,000 population).”
Now on to the East Coast where every season glistens in its own unique way. The White Mountains in New Hampshire hold more spring, summer and autumn mystery to the uninitiated than any other state on the eastern seaboard, so explore away. In other words you’re in for a treat if you vacation in these parts.
What else is great here? Medscape’s article states, “New Hampshire is the only Northeastern state to make Medscape’s top 10 in terms of compensation. Plus the cost of living here is the second lowest in the Northeast.
Pennsylvania is smack dab in between the Midwest and the East Coast. It’s considered a northeastern state no doubt. Still you’ll get an eclectic mix of mountain and plains scenery in this portion of the United States.
In addition to that, the cost of living in places like Pittsburgh are very reasonable. In fact it’s, “half that of DC or San Francisco according to the AIER (American Institute for Economic Research).”
It’s almost common knowledge nowadays that living along the coast of California is a tad more expensive than living in many other parts of the U.S., specifically in the Bay Area. Though, there are some cities that are slightly south of San Francisco that offer not only peace of mind in the form of adventuring through state parks and beaches but also in the abundance of assignments offered. You’re able to see the wonders of every bit of California all while supplementing your income with frequent opportunities.
Ah, the gritty elegance of the Pacific Northwest, what else do you need? If your assignment is in Portland, Oregon you’ve got pretty much everything you ever wanted. There are waterfall trails (Multnomah Falls) and mist-filled beaches (Cannon Beach) nearby, plus tons of local culture as well as a great restaurant scene.
Don’t let the higher cost of living bother you while working in Portland, the quality of life is still there. Again, Medscape’s 2016 review reports that, “Oregon’s economy has grown nearly three times faster than the national economy since 2001, and the Portland metro area, which accounts for three quarters of the state’s economy is the main driver.”
The Grand Canyon, Saguaro National Park, Petrified Forest, need we name off more amazing sights to convince you to practice medicine in Arizona? Of course we don’t. We know it’s not all about the national parks. You need more to tempt you than that.
Even though the bigger cities here do attract more physicians – the Phoenix-Scottsdale area to name one – the state still has lower physician density than the national average (234.0 per 100,000 to the nation’s 265.5 per 100,000). Never mind any of that if you’re a golfer, this state is replete with gorgeous golf courses.
There are a lot of factors to consider when taking a locum tenens assignment in the U.S. Luckily we have locum tenens experts here to help guide you in your search for a new opportunity. Are you up for a new 2017 locum tenens adventure this summer? Click the orange button below to discover all the best places to practice medicine in the U.S.
There’s no doubt about it…Australia is, in a word, vast. Now, when we say “vast” we mean it. No single word in the English language is more appropriate in encapsulating the true essence of Australia. This country contains, in elegant manner, a multitude of cultures, cuisines, dialects, landscapes, oceanscapes and cityscapes all within its 2,969,907 square miles.
You’ve got Western Australia with its picturesque Perth and Queensland with its shining Gold Coast. Then you’ve got the gritty yet charming feel of the outback in the Northern Territory and the craggy island atmosphere of Tasmania. And still there's more: in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.
So yes, Australia is vast. To place any other adjective by its side would be tantamount to a disgrace. Three doctors who practiced medicine in Australia can testify to its welcoming greatness. They’ll tell you all about what to expect at work as well as what sights they experienced – in a nutshell, they’ll enlighten you on the locum tenens lifestyle here in Australia.
But before we get to their stories you should know that taking an assignment in Australia is about more than just the scenery. It’s about a life experience, a career change. It’s about being entirely immersed in a different culture and healthcare system. (Read: 3 interesting places to practice medicine in Australia plus a brief overview of their healthcare system.) Simply put, practicing medicine in Australia is a work experience you’ll never forget.
And as an Aussie would say, no worries: Your physician placement specialist will handle all the logistics along the way (licensing, registration, travel, etc.). They'll match you with a medical facility as well as put you in touch with the practice where you’ll be working. And if there’s a doctor who has practiced in that area before you’ll even have a chance to chat with them, help you get your bearings ahead of setting foot in the country.
All in all this process should take about three months once a job has been offered. If you’d like you can learn more about the requirements for taking a locum tenens assignment in Australia by visiting our Ask an Expert page. In the meantime, catch a head start on what to expect by reading all about the following doctors’ experiences below.
Isadore Unger, MD – Tasmania
On practicing medicine in another country:
For Dr. Unger, practicing medicine in another country – especially one with socialized medicine – presented a few challenges. “There were differences in language and terminology,” says Dr. Unger. “Interns were called house surgeons and residents were called registrars or 'reggies' for short. And surgeons are never called ‘doctor,’ they're addressed as ‘Mister.’” Kiwis and Aussies do speak English, but they not only have their own accent, they have a few of their own words. Fortunately, the nurses helped Dr. Unger translate the jargon. “One patient told me he felt 'like a box of fluffy ducks,’” says Dr. Unger, “Which I learned is 'great.’”
Rick Abbott, MD – Tasmania
On the differences between the U.S. and Australia’s healthcare system:
Beyond figuring out that a “long black” is Tassie's answer to a simple coffee, Dr. Abbott found out that both the healthcare system and work ethic are a bit different, too. “The ER was a great place to work. Because Australia is a national healthcare system, we had very little 'social safety net' to our practice and so we were a real ER. In other words, a very high proportion of our patients had an acute problem that required an acute intervention. We weren't trying to manage chronic disease that had nowhere else to go (as in the U.S.)." Dr. Abbott also praised Tasmania's implementation of an Emergency Medical Information Book (an organized booklet listing their medical and surgical history, active problem list, and current medications) that lots of patients carry with them.
On the adventures him and his wife, Jean Abbott, MD, had:
For his last month in Tasmania, Jean Abbott, MD (his wife, an ER doctor herself) joined him for some Tassie fun. The “Doctors Abbott” ventured to the capital city of Tasmania, Hobart, which serves as the home port for both Australian and French Antarctic operations. They also made their way to a few nature parks to see the wildlife that you'll only find in Australia: wallabies, kangaroos, wombats, kookaburras, and a lot more. They even saw Little Penguins or “Fairy Penguins” out on a quaint little Tassie beach. Ben Lomond National Park is a spectacular place and it's a haven for rock climbers, bushwalkers, and skiers. “Beautiful tundra - though we could only see a few feet of it at a time because of the thick fog,” Dr. Abbott says. “And wallabies were all over the place up there!”
Kathryn Starkey, MD – multiple assignments throughout Australia
On the experiences you won’t get anywhere else:
"You know when you come to Australia that you're going to see some kangaroos," she says. "What we didn't expect was to see them chewing on the putting green at the local golf course!" It was an event that became a nightly ritual for Dr. Starkey and her partner, Molly Evans, not to mention the famous marsupials. "Watching the kangaroos bounce in – a lovely movement in itself – and chew on the grass at sunset beat anything on the four TV channels," says Dr. Starkey. "And who ever imagines they'll be hiking along and see a platypus swim by on their webbed feet, right there in the wild? A platypus!"
On the reasons for taking a locum tenens assignment in the first place:
As Dr. Starkey tells it, “I had a gynecology practice in the Finger Lakes area of New York, but no life. I went to work early, got home late, had dinner, watched a bit of TV, went to bed, and then did it all again. I told my patients to take care of themselves, but I wasn't taking care of myself.” What she had done was keep a postcard from Global Medical, which inspired her to take action. “I told Molly to start planning; I brushed up on my OB work and we took an assignment a year later." Since then, Dr. Starkey has lost some 40 pounds; she respects a 9-to-5 workday and leads a balanced life. The primary requisite in each new area is a decent library. “I now have time to read, and I love to get books about the areas where we're living and dive into them,” says Dr. Starkey. “I learn the history, the geography, everything. It's fascinating.”
If it feels that you still have unanswered questions after reading these first-hand accounts then read the full stories and more. In fact, we have an online library of sorts you can visit. It's entitled The Locum Life – locum tenens stories told through the eyes of our own doctors. You'll find out more about what it's like to work in Australia, New Zealand and even the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Interested in practicing medicine in Australia right away? Go ahead and view our current locum tenens opportunities in the Land Down Under with the click of a button below.
Topics: South Australia, Queensland, Australia, Dr. Kathryn Starkey, Northern Territory, Western Australia, Dr. Rick Abbott, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, locum tenens lifestyle, Australian healthcare, Dr. Isadore Unger
By now in your medical career you may have read something about the burnout epidemic currently afflicting a lot of physicians. Our guess is you’re probably just as tired of hearing about physician burnout as you are tired of experiencing it yourself. But suffice it to say you’re not unique in your exhaustion. Simply put burnout isn’t inextricably bound to healthcare providers. This type of career stress impacts many professionals among many industries and fields. Just check out this article on LoveToKnow.com identifying other occupations with high burnout rates.
Yes you will see that physicians do top the list. In fact, in 2011 a national study was conducted by the American Medical Association and the Mayo Clinic to “evaluate the prevalence of burnout and physicians’ satisfaction with work-life balance compared to the general U.S. population…” What were the findings? “At the time of that study, approximately 45 percent of U.S. physicians met criteria for burnout,” the study authors wrote. This is “attributed in part due to the demands and stress of patient care, long hours and increasing administrative burdens associated with practicing medicine.”
But let’s not focus on what we already know in the statistics; let’s direct our attention to addressing the causes. Because, rest assured, there’s a different way to look at this. Instead of seeing job burnout solely as a problem, see it as an opportunity to change directions.
You’re experiencing burnout for your own personal reasons, right? Sure, the statistics of physician burnout are there; still you have your unique experiences that lead to your very own type of burnout.
Tell you what let’s do this. Grab a piece of paper and take a minute to write down at least five reasons – that may or may not fall in line with the statistics – on why you’re experiencing stress in your current position. Do any of these fit the bill?
- You're experiencing lack of control in decision-making.
- You don't have an ideal work-life balance.
- You don't have enough face-to-face time with your patients.
- There are too many administrative tasks throughout the day.
- Your own self-care may be coming up short due to all of the above.
Some of these reasons impact professionals in many industries (i.e., lack of control in decision-making, not an ideal work-life balance, self-care may be coming up short) but the rest do fall more firmly in the field of healthcare. What do we do in everyday life when a problem – big or small – comes up? We fix it, don’t we?
Now take that piece of paper, throw it in the trash and grab another piece. Or rather write it in your notes app on your phone. Think about what your ideal physician job looks like and jot down some of the finer points. Is it much the opposite of the list above, stuff like more control in decision-making, more time spent with family and passions outside of work, more time with patients, less administrative tasks? If that’s your list then you probably know that self-care is going to fall out of that.
We’re not here to promise you that an international locum tenens opportunity will take care of all these issues; we’re just saying that to be mindful of your stresses is the first, most important step in addressing physician burnout, or rather, your own burnout.
You may be able to mediate these symptoms by simply bringing them to the foreground within the medical facility you’re working. Don’t do anything drastic. Just focus on lowering your stress levels by opening up communication on what’s bothering you in your current position. Dike Drummond, MD, addresses some of the more particular stresses that physicians face and how to solve them in this article on AAFP.org. It's a great read.
If you still deem it an uphill battle it may be time for a change. Again, regardless of career or industry, we all face a point in time where we must choose to move in a different direction. Consider the benefits of an international locum tenens opportunity when you’re faced with physician burnout. Here are just a few:
- There’s more patient care and less paperwork.
- You get to choose when and where you want to practice medicine.
- You’ll have the ability to see how physicians in different practice settings and different countries deliver care.
- Locum tenens helps you build a strong CV. (Think of the experience abroad as well as the ability to develop a unique skillset in a diverse background.)
- Lastly, you’ll get to explore landscapes and cultures you never thought possible.
Go ahead and read more about the advantages to the locum tenens lifestyle. Or another recommended read is 4 common misconceptions about the locum tenens lifestyle.
Again, we’re not here to tell you that the sole solution to all your problems is locum tenens because it’s not. You really do have to address why you’re feeling physician burnout and if the symptoms can be remedied by a locum tenens assignment overseas then great. But focus on why you’re burnt out in the first place. The point is to identify the cause (or causes) then seek out a solution. As a physician that process should be second nature anyways, just apply it to yourself. While you're at it don’t forget to view current international locum tenens opportunities with the click of a button below.
Planning a locum tenens assignment in New Zealand takes time. But it’s worth it. Consider the scenery alone, c'mon! But that's not the only great thing about practicing medicine in the Land of the Long White Cloud, no. Practicing in this island country affords you a world of experience. You'll be able to see how doctors here deliver care, how their unique culture has shaped their healthcare system and best of all you'll be able to focus purely on patient care with little to no paperwork or administrative duties involved.
Fortunately, too, your physician placement specialist will carry most of the weight throughout your placement process – with the end result being the best match possible between you and the medical facility in need. In other words they'll help you every step of the way in obtaining the New Zealand assignment you desire.
Now there is some effort on both parties involved to gather all the necessary licensing and registration but if you've got the drive and the credentials then there's nothing stopping you from setting foot on this magical island. Keep in mind the whole process will take about three months once a job has been offered. But as long as you are U.S. board certified, or the equivalent in a comparable country and hold an active license, you are eligible for temporary registration.
Don't just listen to us go on about all the fine details. Hear from some doctors – with a variety of backgrounds – who have worked in New Zealand already. Their stories, rich in detail, will hopefully enlighten you. You'll discover not only what it's like to live in a stunning country but also what it's like to be on locum tenens assignment here. What's it like practicing medicine in New Zealand, you ask? Our doctors will tell you.
Mark Dell’Aglio, MD
On acclimating to the Kiwi way of life:
When you're in another country you take notice of the uniqueness that surrounds you—the noises, the sights, the smells are all brand new. For Mark Dell'Aglio, M.D. and his wife Trinj, a locum tenens assignment in New Zealand meant an opportunity to turn the unfamiliar into an adventure. “It's interesting to watch us learning outside of ourselves...learning the Kiwi way of life,” says Dr. Dell'Aglio. When you visit a foreign country – even if they share your native language – you find yourself learning colloquialisms, customs, and cultural caveats that aren't familiar. Everything from setting up a new home to making new friends is an entirely different experience in a foreign country. But it’s a welcome experience.
On practicing medicine in New Zealand:
“There's very little hierarchy here,” says Dr. Dell’Aglio. “First names are used among everybody, from the students to the doctors. You get to focus on pressing issues without dealing with all the games insurance companies sometimes make doctors play. Quite simply New Zealand medicine is different from the States; the Kiwis are more relaxed – much more patient. They are a 'live-and-let-live' type of people. It's tremendously refreshing...impatience seems to be indoctrinated in [Americans] at a young age...That's not as strong here. Here, there is no whirlwind, more like a soft, gentle breeze.”
Benjamin Ross, MD
On adapting to the New Zealand healthcare system:
"At first glance their system seems different...but ultimately, the outcomes are similar at about 1/3 the cost of the U.S. system," says Dr. Ross. And the Kiwi way of doing things in the hospital wasn't hard for Dr. Ross, either – he immediately felt a sense of camaraderie with the other General Practitioners; in fact, he says he developed great relationships with all the staff.
On freedom and travel in New Zealand after residency in the U.S.:
Dr. Ross’s work schedule gave him the freedom to travel, tramp and traverse all across New Zealand. “It's hard not to be comfortable working a schedule with no nights or weekends so soon after residency,” says Dr. Ross, “We had plenty of time to explore the North Island and quite a bit of the South Island, too.”
On days off Dr. Ross – and his wife, Stephanie – took to the road, everywhere from Cape Reinga at the top of the North Island to Bluff at the tip of the South Island and everywhere between. The road trips, Dr. Ross explains, were alive with “rolling green hills, winding roads and stretches of shape shifting shores.” On a drive to Wellington – for a Rugby World Cup match between the U.S. and Australia – they stopped overnight in Taupo, a town in the center of the North Island, and awoke the next morning to the crystal-clear waters of the town’s eponymous lake “it was so clear I could hardly believe it!” Stephanie recalls.
Jen Corliss, MD
On learning the local slang:
The lay of the land was easy on the eyes but the Kiwi slang was hard on the American tongue. “I had trouble understanding some New Zealand phrases when I started,” Dr. Corliss recounts, “so I'd find a nurse to translate and by the end, I even caught myself using some of the slang.” Soon enough, she was ‘sweet-as’, popping ‘round cafes for a cuppa.’
On her daily routine in New Zealand:
“My daily routine had me waking up to the bright New Zealand sun every day. I rode my bike to work past the goldmine through brilliant green fields and was greeted at work by my friendly coworkers. I saw patients during my four-day-a-week schedule and was impressed by the gratitude they showed for the care they received. I always finished by 5pm, so I had time to run to the beach or play a game of netball with friends.”
Well, that’s about it. Any additional questions you may have can be answered in this white paper appropriately called “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Taking a Locum Tenens Assignment in New Zealand.” And if you've still got questions after reading that then go ahead and finish reading these doctors’ stories.
Still have questions after that? You know what to do: fill out this quick information request form and we’ll be in touch. Practicing medicine in New Zealand isn't just a faraway dream; it's a reality that can happen for you. Feel free to view our current international locum tenens opportunities with the click of a button below.
We know. Technically only one place on this list is in the midst of winter. The rest are in the heart of their Southern Hemispherean summer right now. But if you're in the Northern Hemisphere it's still winter travel to us. No matter. You can visit these stunning sights in any season and still snag an epic photo. The point is to be immersed in travel, to broaden your medical skills and to bring your camera along for the adventure. Find out what international locum tenens opportunities are available now with the click of an orange button below.
Two weeks ago we outlined the finest places around the U.S. for locum tenens doctors to not only visit but places where they can hone their photography skills, too. This week we’re introducing the international edition of our winter bucket list.
Much like the U.S. edition you’ll see places that range from cityscape to countryside. In our list you’ll read about horizons where gleaming granite peaks and cascading waterfalls are far from lacking; where burning giants dominate the night sky over leagues of tussock hills; where neon lights heat up the nightlife all while existing underneath an abundance of coastal mountains; and lastly, where a city is surrounded by a fiery red desert with unforgettable sights and adventures in every direction. Yeah, you’re going to want to bring your camera.
Fiordland National Park – South Island, New Zealand
At this point it’s a given that New Zealand has immaculate countryside. And Fiordland National Park – which includes Milford, Dusky and Doubtful Sounds – is about as gorgeous as it gets.
Gargantuan glaciers carved this land. There’s a personality here, an energy that is palpable in the coastal mountain air. Air so simultaneously crisp and humid you’ll wonder if you’re in the Rockies or on some beach in Hawaii. Still, you’re going to want to bring a jacket because it can get a tad chilly. Maybe pack some protective/waterproof gear for your camera while you’re at it. Waterfall spray can get a little intense if you’re taking the cruise ship route. Tours can last anywhere from a couple hours to a whole day.
If you really want some epic captures of this diverse landscape then take the Milford Track (this one's by foot). It’s touted as one of New Zealand’s most famous hikes. Have a few days or more to spare? Complete the 33-mile, four-day trip. That way you can really capture awe-inspiring scenery like Sutherland Falls. Learn more about how to book a walk with a tour guide or how to venture out on your own.
Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve – South Island, New Zealand
To be able to capture a dynamic picture of a waterfall amidst mountain peaks takes a certain artistry for sure. It’s an entirely different kind of finesse to be able to capture the night sky in all its glory. If you’re new to astrophotography here’s a crash course that’s worth reading. But we suspect with some basic know-how you’ll be able to shoot the clear skies in the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Reserve, no problem.
A good approach is to create an engaging composition in your long exposure, a bit of tussock land and a large amount of night sky for example. Just do an image search on Google and you’ll see the possibilities that exist here. Aside from simply freeing the skies of all pollution the reserve is also dedicated to protecting the flora and fauna in the area. Take the Big Sky Stargazing tour of Mount John Observatory for an in-depth look of their mission as well as an enlightening examination of the night sky.
Granville Street – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
There’s a street in Vancouver where neon lights used to shine in plenitude far and wide. It’s called Granville Street; you can’t miss it. Though over the past couple decades the flashing signs have been reduced. There is a new interest as of late to bring back what was once thought to be the luminous soul of the city. (Pack your street lens – 50mm or less – for this stretch of town).
This resurgence exists in preserving neon lights even if the business is long gone. If you want to see some of the signs that have fallen prey to neon bans over the years you can find those at the Vancouver Museum. They hold a collection of vintage neons there like the Smiling Buddha Cabaret sign.
What makes this radiant portion of Vancouver truly incredible and unique is that the North Shore Mountains tower not far off. It’s not all glitz and glamour like some neon cities. When we think neon we think Las Vegas where casinos stand among desert scenery or we picture massive cities such as Tokyo where there’s no shortage of skyscrapers. Granville Street is home to a glowing nightlife, sure, but Vancouver is still a mountain city at heart.
Alice Springs – Northern Territory, Australia
Last but not least is Alice Springs: the gateway to Australia’s outback, its Red Centre. Not the only gateway of course but definitely one of the most visited. That’s because Uluru is nearby: a sacred sandstone formation protected by the Anangu (an Aboriginal people).
Visit even more striking sights, too, like Kings Canyon, Simpson Desert and the Devils Marbles. The last one is a can’t miss. To the Warmangu Aboriginal people these large granite boulders are sacred. When you see them in person you’ll understand why.
Do you really want to make your trip to Alice Springs a success? Book a tour by camelback to watch the sun rise and/or set where Uluru serves as the backdrop. Quite spectacular. Yeah, you can probably guess by now that Alice Springs is a remarkable place to capture very distinct landscapes. You can even stay within the city limits and discover Aboriginal art galleries or learn more about the eclectic history of the town itself.
Topics: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Northern Territory, Milford Sound, photographer, dark sky reserve, devils marbles, granville street, vancouver, aoraki, winter, bucket list, photography, alice springs, fiordland national park, star photography
In the thick of winter it’s easy to stay inside after a long day at work. It can get pretty darn cold outside after all. If the choice is to either stay inside with a hot cup of cocoa or layer up and head outside for a brisk winter walk, most will opt for the hot chocolate. But getting your heart pumping and a burn going on in your calves is good for you.
Try a winter hike up in the mountains. If you don’t have mountains nearby then go for a winter walk around your neighborhood, or a winter stroll through the city. To partake in such a meditative activity is to feed your mind and body with new stimuli. You’re able to see your surroundings in a new light outside the familiar routes you take. It may even change your perspective a little regarding the coldest season of the year, too.
While you’re at it bring your camera along on your trek. It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or an expert, all you need is your unique, artistic eye and a touch of enthusiasm. Are you completely new to photography? Do you want something with a little more pixel power than what your smart phone can offer? Then check out our recent blog about the best digital cameras of 2016.
For those already armed and ready with your cameras we’ve compiled a winter bucket list of photography hotspots across the U.S. – from national parks to iconic cities. It’s time to trade in those awe-inducing summer photos that so often invade our social media feeds and replace them with wintry wonder.
Denali National Park, Alaska
Alaska doesn’t see much light during winter. But that doesn’t mean you can't still enjoy the landscape. Denali hosts some of the most dazzling winter scenery in the whole world. Not just on the ground, either, but up in the sky, too. The northern lights dance and dazzle miles above the Earth. Though this hypnotic phenomena can be fleeting if not periodic so be sure to have your camera handy.
To learn more about activities like dog sledding, cross-country skiing and stargazing check out the National Park Service. Oh and remember to bundle up. Temperatures can drop to -40 F. It’s always a good idea to let someone know when and where you’re going as well.
Sequoia National Park, California
Those same tall, red, towering trees you see during the summer are still there in winter – except now they’re more vivid, more commanding and proudly alive in their space. The pure whiteness of the snow gives these trees even more arresting color.
Immerse yourself in the silence of these sequoias by snowshoeing or cross-country skiing (with camera at the ready of course). Check out this handy guide to learn more about some of the activities you can partake in during winter. Depending on how much time you have – from a few hours to a week or more – you can go for a hike in Giant Forest, go sledding at Big Stump or take a long, arduous (but rewarding) journey to Pear Lake Winter Hut and camp overnight. Be sure to reserve the hut in advance.
New York City, New York
New York City is never short of inspiration. It serves as a muse for many photographers with its iconic architecture (e.g., Flatiron, Chrysler, Woolworth, Empire State, Brooklyn Bridge).
There aren’t many hiking trails in town but what it lacks in that department it more than makes up for in its stunning succession of skyscrapers on almost every street. (In fact, Kurt Vonnegut once called NYC “Skyscraper National Park” in his novel Slapstick.) You’ll have a hard time pulling your finger off the shutter no matter if you’re in Times Square or Central Park. Just remember that the winter wind can be bone chilling in NYC, so grab your warmest jacket.
What else is there to do? Take a photographer’s stroll (that means leisurely) from Manhattan to Brooklyn along the eponymous bridge’s walkway.
Salt Lake City, Utah
We couldn’t think of a more fitting city for you to visit during winter than our very own (other than NYC). We’ve got national and state parks galore that are a stone’s throw away. Plus Salt Lake City serves as the perfect basecamp for skiing and snowboarding – seeing as how Snowbird, Alta, Brighton and Solitude are about thirty minutes from downtown. Don’t forget about the abundance of hiking trails up Big Cottonwood Canyon, Little Cottonwood Canyon and Millcreek Canyon, too.
Still there’s more to this cross-section of Utah than the great outdoors: plan a night out on the town and see the Temple Square lights, go ice skating at Gallivan Center or simply stroll around downtown with your camera in hand and capture the wonderful architecture.
Don’t you think it’s about time that winter got as much photography love as the rest of the seasons? With all these bucket list winter trips don’t forget to bring your trusty camera along with you.
Throw your hot chocolate in a thermos and head outside. Capture all the idyllic snow-blanketed scenery that you can. And enjoy the cold as much as humanly possible. Get your layers on then see what locum tenens assignments are available across the U.S. right now with the click of a button below.
It’s that time of year again. The holidays are in full swing. But they will be gone just as fast as they came. We thought it’d be best to prime you with next year’s top 5 regions to explore now instead of waiting ‘til January. That way you can start lacing up your boots, packing your bags and be ready to go once the New Year ball drops. Or at the very least make some tentative plans to travel in 2017.
Fortunately you don’t have to drop your career for any length of time. Within these wondrous regions we have an abundance of locum tenens opportunities for you to take advantage of. Whether your heart is drawn to wander about the countryside or your stomach is hankering to discover the best restaurants in the city, any of these regions will supply you with ample amenities. What’s more you can see how physicians in different practice settings – possibly different countries – deliver care.
As always, if you’ve been to any of these places, feel free to share your favorite adventures. A world of possibilities awaits you within these 5 striking regions.
Tasmania – East Coast
What can be said about Tasmania that hasn’t already been said? A lot. We’ve barely scratched the surface, barely touched the coast in all our writings. That’s why we’re bringing the East Coast to your attention.
Did you know there are a slew of national parks spread along this part of Tasmania? You’ve got Freycinet National Park with clear waters, pink mountains and Wineglass Bay. Then there’s Maria Island National Park where you can climb to the top of Mt. Maria (2,332 feet up) and witness all-encompassing views of Tasmania. And Douglas-Apsley National Park (named after the streams that wash through the region) is a can’t-miss, too, what with its thick eucalypt forest, deep gorges and magnificent waterfalls.
How to make it the ultimate trip:
Take to the open road. You can hit all the above and more in one fantastic journey called the Great Eastern Drive.
Michigan – The Upper Peninsula
The Upper Peninsula in Michigan has national parks, historic sites, over 40 lighthouses, shipwrecks, waterfalls and packed forests all ready to be explored. Even in winter you can experience so much beauty in such a small stretch of America.
For example, head to Isle Royale National Park for an introduction to pure wilderness. 53 miles away from the nearest town, Isle Royale can only be accessed by ferry, floatplane or passenger ship. Believe it or not this national park is one of the least visited in the country. Don’t let that deter you. It’s not visited much because of its remoteness. But that adds to its appeal. Keep in mind this massive archipelago is only open to visitors from April 15 – October 31.
How to make it the ultimate trip:
If you don’t want to wait until summer we recommend taking an entirely different ferry to Mackinac Island (pronounced Mack-in-aw), which is open year-round. While this island is actually located between the Upper Peninsula and Lower Peninsula we still suggest a day or two here not only to explore Michigan’s diverse landscape but its incredibly rich history, too.
Hawaii – Windward Coast
The very word Hawaii conjures up images of unrivaled beauty. Green peaks scrape the sky and fall all the way to the Pacific. The landscape that surrounds inspires most to relax, some to surf and a select few to drop everything and move to these shores.
The Windward Coast might be the place that finally convinces you to stay indefinitely. If you need a nudge then head to Nuuanu Pali Lookout, a five-mile drive northeast of Honolulu. Your head will be in the clouds and your eyes will cease blinking solely to capture as much of the Koolau Cliffs as possible. Other points of interest along the Windward Coast are Makapuu Point Lighthouse, Valley of the Temples and Kailua Beach Park.
How to make it the ultimate trip:
Spend a day in Kailua, a town roughly 30 minutes northeast of Honolulu. Known for its turquoise waters and white-sand beaches the scenery can’t be beat. But if you want more than just pretty views then hit up the farmers’ markets, hip boutiques and delicious restaurants that are abundant in this town.
Oregon – Coast
The coast of Oregon is a long sweep. It’s tough to pick just a few spots to check out. Still you can already see the mist-blanketed sea stacks and quaint oceanside towns we’re about to describe, can’t you?
Like Florence, a river- and seaside city just about halfway between the northern and southern borders of Oregon. To get your fill of scenery visit Heceta Head Lighthouse and Sea Lion Caves nearby. Then hit up the Waterfront Depot for the tastiest of seafood.
How to make it the ultimate trip:
Cannon Beach has to be one of the only places in the world where people are happy to don their sweatshirts simply to chase that almost unreachable feeling of silent awe. And the cause of that awe? Haystack Rock of course. This 235-foot-tall sea stack just off Cannon Beach could be the most famous ocean monolith in the entire United States but we’re just guessing.
Our recommendation: stand in amazement for a moment then take a peaceful stroll along the beach.
South Carolina – Coast
It wasn’t intentional by any means but you’re starting to notice a theme, aren’t you? Except one region we’ve outlined, the rest are coastal. We suppose we’re urging you to travel to the oceans of the world. Though a massive body of water does border the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, too. No matter. We’re here to end the list with the coast of South Carolina, home to such greats as Hilton Head Island, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.
Granted there are 2,876 miles of tidal coastline so if you only have time to make it to a few places we do recommend the wonderful places we’ve outlined above. Hilton Head Island has its dramatic marshland and some of the most jaw-dropping white-sand beaches along the Atlantic. Charleston is historic and imbued with picturesque architecture overlooking the ocean. And Myrtle Beach…well it’s renowned for many remarkable things, one of which is its world-class golf.
How to make it the ultimate trip:
Stay in Charleston for a while, a romanticism exists here unlike any other. What to do? Pick a direction on any cobblestone street and start walking. You’ll encounter antebellum buildings and a slew of delicious eats.
What now? There's no better time like the present to start planning your 2017 travels. Oh and be sure to consider any of the above locales when searching for your next locum tenens assignment.
Happy 2017 travels!
Topics: Hawaii, Oregon, Tasmania, South Carolina, michigan, windward coast, Cannon Beach, Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Hilton Head Island, top 5 regions, top 5 regions 2017, upper peninsula, mackinac island, Haystack Rock, Freycinet National Park, Great Eastern Drive
Picture this: You’re walking through the city and you see architecture that captivates you or a person on the street who delights you. You reach for your smart phone but the photo you take doesn’t wholly capture the energy you wanted. The lighting is off and there’s no true focus on the subject.
Another scene: you’re hitting every national park you can in one road trip and you witness all sorts of amazing wildlife and towering scenery along the way. You want so badly to capture every moment for eternity, or at least for your lifetime, but your smart phone camera just ain’t up to snuff. The scenery whizzes by too quickly resulting in blurred photos.
What’s the point we’re trying to make? No matter where you’re journeying in the world on your locum tenens assignment you deserve a camera that captures the awe you felt in the moment.
We’re not bad-mouthing smart phone cameras by any means. In fact, for the globetrotters who double as hobbyist photographers a smart phone will often suffice. After all smart phone cameras have come a long way over the past couple years. With megapixels ever increasing – plus the ease of use as far as Wi-Fi connectivity – it’s just fine to be content with your smart phone.
But sometimes you want a better quality photo or video, don't you? Because even with the rapid technological progress of smart phone cameras you still can’t beat a digital camera. The megapixels are greater and most digital cameras nowadays come with Wi-Fi connectivity (depending on the model of course).
Granted those two features aren’t the only selling points of a digital camera. And we’re not here to sell you on the hottest cameras, either. We’re simply here to enlighten you, to broaden your picture-taking horizons.
Go ahead and read through the list then you can decide for yourself whether or not you want to upgrade. Keep in mind, in order to fit such an expansive topic into one blog we’re sticking to the best digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs) and mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras (MILCs) of 2016.
And since we’re aiming for brevity here’s a crash course in these two types of cameras: DSLRs, put simply, use a mirror to direct light from the lens to the optical viewfinder (OVF). The mirror allows you to see what the camera will capture. Mirrorless cameras on the other hand don’t employ mirrors – a relatively newer technology – but instead capture light right onto the image sensor where you can see electronically what the camera will capture through the electronic viewfinder (EVF). If you’d like to read in greater detail about the differences between the two types of cameras, check out this article. If you'd like to learn more about the pros and cons of each type of camera, here's a great read.
The reigning advantage of both DSLR and mirrorless cameras over smart phone cameras and point-and-shoots is that you have a lot more manual control, plus the lenses are interchangeable. This gives you the capacity to achieve grander photography and videography in one package. But enough with the gritty tech talk. Let’s get down to the best digital cameras of 2016 – from entry-level to professional.
Entry-level DSLR – Nikon D3400
For those of you who are already well versed in the photography world, you know that a lot of photographers are either very pro-Nikon or very pro-Canon. There are diehards who swear by one brand over the other. You may even be one of them. We ask you to set aside your differences and take the Nikon D3400 for what it is: a really great entry-level DSLR. It offers 24.2 megapixels, great battery life and Bluetooth connectivity.
Mid-range DSLR – Canon EOS 80D
The Canon EOS 80D was actually released not too long ago – back in March to be exact. It comes packed with some great features over the previous model, the 70D. What you get is a new image sensor and a faster autofocus system. What hasn’t changed is the fact that these cameras – both the 70D and the 80D – are excellent for shooting action, plus they also have a convenient articulating touchscreen.
Professional DSLR – Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Some terms you may hear as you’re searching for your next camera is crop sensor (APS-C) vs. full-frame sensor. Most entry-level to mid-range cameras (both DSLRs and mirrorless) utilize APS-C sensors – meaning it crops the frame. Or “…only part of the image produced by the lens is captured by the APS-C size sensor.”
As you reach both the professional DSLR and mirrorless cameras you’ll get what’s called a full-frame sensor. In other words, “full frame refers to a sensor size that has the same dimensions as the 35mm format.” It captures the entire image produced by the lens.
One full-frame camera to look out for that was released not very long ago is the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. Its predecessors, the Mark II and the Mark III both made a huge impact on the photography and videography world. Essentially these cameras became veritable workhorses for videographers wrapped up in a small, convenient package.
Entry-level Mirrorless – Sony a6000
While the Sony a6000 is not a new camera (it was released in April 2014), it still is a staple among the mirrorless community. It’s often lauded as having one of the best autofocusing systems in its class, even rivaling that of many professional DSLRs. And if you’re an action photographer you’ll be pleased with its ability to shoot 11 frames per second. Another fantastic feature: you can achieve that cinema-quality look with the camera’s ability to shoot in 24fps HD video.
Mid-range Mirrorless – Sony a6300
You guessed it: the Sony a6300 is the new and improved version of the a6000. It was released just this year back in March. Though it still sports the same 24 megapixels, what has improved is the overall image quality. And with increased image quality comes increased focusing capabilities.
You also get better low-light performance. This may not seem like a huge selling point but believe us, it is. When you find yourself in a dark living room wanting to snap a picture of your family during the holidays, the low-light capabilities save the day. One final upgrade: it can shoot in 4K video!
Professional Mirrorless – Sony a7r II
By now you might think we’re strictly Sony fans when it comes to mirrorless cameras. While the author is a Sony a7s II owner he restricts his bias as much as possible (the ‘s’ version has better low-light capabilities than the 'r' version).
The very fact that Sony has made some amazing advances in the mirrorless technology world lands it firmly in first place among many lists, for its focus speed, its resolution and its low-light capability among many other advantages. The Sony a7r II is no different. In fact, it’s a beast for anyone wanting 42.4 megapixels and a highly intuitive autofocusing system.
Well that’s it for the best digital cameras of 2016. Now get out there and start snapping pictures and shooting video. Always feel free to share your photos and footage with us from your locum tenens assignments. And if you’re looking for great locales to shoot in, look no further than these healthcare opportunities.