Locums for a Small World Blog

How one physician used locum tenens to explore Guam and Asia

Posted by Kari Redfield

Ever consider doing a short work stint on the other side of the world to immerse yourself in another culture, explore the tropics, and travel throughout Asia? When Dr. Kevin Arnold approached retirement from fulltime urgent care, he and his wife, Linda, wanted to explore new places, so they researched options and talked to Global Medical Staffing. In the end, they picked Guam for its nearly limitless potential for travel.

“It’s America’s other tropical paradise,” Dr. Arnold says. “At 10 p.m., it’s still 80 degrees. It was a delight to experience weather like that.”

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Almost like a vacation rather than work
In the mornings before Dr. Arnold’s shift started at noon, he and Linda had plenty of time to explore and relax. They went hiking in the jungle, saw tourist sights like the local World War II museums, and spent time poolside.

The couple also checked out Guam’s massive amusement and water park, along with exploring all kinds of natural pools out in the jungle.

“You go in and hop into tiny lagoons among the rocks,” Dr. Arnold explains, “which is a lot of fun since it’s always hot and sunny.”

True to its reputation, Guam provided the Arnolds with numerous travel opportunities. For instance, they took a three-day weekend to visit Tokyo, and after the assignment, they flew to Manila, and during a month-long adventure, also checked out Singapore, Vietnam, China, South Korea, and Japan.

“Guam is like the ‘Chicago of Asia,’” explains Dr. Arnold. “You can easily go anywhere on that side of the world.”

And about the current tensions between the U.S. and North Korea — Dr. Arnold says that the U.S. military, which maintains a strong presence in Guam, showed no signs of concern, nor did the local people, so the Arnolds didn’t worry.

Medicine in Guam
Practicing medicine in Guam felt refreshingly different to Dr. Arnold from his 35 years of urgent care experience in Wisconsin, something that included many colds and sinus infections. “I treated almost no sinus infections in Guam, a real treat for me,” he says with a grin.

Territorial authorities own the hospital where Dr. Arnold worked, so like any public hospital, it operates on a tight budget. That said, the technology was all up-to-date, Dr. Arnold adds.

He treated many abscesses along with sprains and strains in the local population. “I had a little bit of a learning curve with the Chamorro culture, in that they do everything as a family, including coming into the clinic together and all staying in the exam room during procedures.” But he adjusted quickly, he says. “The Chamorro people are friendly and gracious.”

He also saw a mix of tourists, most of whom didn’t speak English, so he made good use of the Google translator app. Through this, and some of the nurses, the patients and Dr. Arnold communicated back and forth without problems.

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A welcoming people
The people are friendly and inviting, Dr. Arnold emphasizes. While there, the Arnolds went to a couple of local festivals, including one that celebrated the Chamorro indigenous culture. Residents invited them to try the local food dishes. “I asked if I could buy our meals, and they said please join us, for free. They’re very inclusive,” Dr. Arnold explains.

While there, the Arnolds both easily made friends — Dr. Arnold mostly through work and Linda through social groups, like a book club. Now, they keep in touch with their new friends in Guam.

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Step outside your comfort zone
If you’ve ever considered traveling and practicing medicine in another part of the world, all while earning a typical U.S. physician salary, consider Guam. Physicians can take short three-month assignments like Dr. Arnold did, and licensing and privileging prove no harder than anywhere else in the United States, he adds.

“It’s a step outside your comfort zone, but the experience is rich and fulfilling,” Dr. Arnold says. “You’re taking care of a population that really needs doctors. I would definitely urge you to try it.”

Take your spouse and family along, he adds. “Linda really enjoyed it, and the physician who replaced me signed up for two years and even brought his kids,” Dr. Arnold says. “All and all, our experience there ended too soon.”

Click the button below to browse our current opportunities. Or just pick up the phone and give us a call at 1.800.760.3174.  

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Topics: Locum Tenens, travel, Pacific Islands, benefits of locum tenens, Guam, Family, Spouse, urgent care

The unique benefits of practicing healthcare in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Guam

Posted by Kari Redfield

Thinking about exploring another part of the world, while working and gaining valuable career experience? Global Medical Staffing can help make it happen.

We place physicians in first-world countries for six-month to one-year assignments (and shorter assignments in U.S. territories) — and as part of our services, we handle all the logistics of securing the assignment, your visa, and any necessary professional credentials. And, in most of our international assignments, we pay for your airfare, housing and transportation.

The reasons physicians choose a particular part of the world vary, so it pays to learn about the differences in healthcare systems, along with the unique benefits these places offer.

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Australia: Good pay and plenty of travel opportunities

Physicians in Australia make good money, similar to what doctors make in the U.S. That’s a big part of the draw for physicians doing locum tenens there — that and the boundless travel potential.

In Australia, the remote areas need physicians (not the urban centers), which means locum tenens physicians on assignment in Australia practice in facilities similar to those found in rural areas in the U.S. (adequate but not super high-tech).

“Typically, physicians decide to take a locum tenens placement in Australia in order to make good money while traveling extensively all around the country and region,” explains Matt Brown, director of Global Medical Staffing’s international division.

Australia provides universal healthcare to citizens, so locum tenens physicians can see high case loads but get paid a pre-negotiated salary that eliminates the hassle of medical billing.

“Our international locum tenens physicians often tell us that they desire a break from private health insurance billing — and they get that in Australia and in most of our international placements,” Brown says.

Three doctors share what it’s like to work locum tenens assignments in Australia.

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New Zealand: A slower pace of life in a gorgeous, wild country

Many of New Zealand’s home-trained doctors (1 in 6) go to other countries like Australia for better compensation, which results in a need for physicians throughout all of New Zealand.

“This provides numerous opportunities for visiting physicians in both urban and rural areas,” Brown says.

In fact, any qualified physician who wishes to live like a local in New Zealand for six to 12 months should be able to go, as New Zealand needs physicians in all medical specialties.

Other benefits: great weather, friendly people, and skills that easily transfer. “New Zealand makes it really easy for visiting doctors,” Brown explains.

“The pay is much lower than what a U.S.-practicing doctor makes, so physicians go to New Zealand for the experience,” says Brown. “They go for the lifestyle of being able to walk right out their door into nature to hike and to surf, to travel extensively, and to get back to the roots of practicing real medicine. Every doctor loves their time there.”

Find out how this physician found a new love for medicine while on assignment in New Zealand.

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Guam and the U.S. territories: Toehold into Asia

Guam and the Pacific Islands use the U.S. healthcare system, so the quality of care and the way practices operate are identical to U.S. rural areas, making it easy for physicians to adjust.

Because visas and special licenses aren’t required, since Guam is a U.S. territory, doctors who decide to take an assignment can go for a short time while earning the same high wages as they would in the continental U.S.

“Guam is close to everything you would want to see in Asia, making it a perfect way to access all of Asia for travel and exploration. Because of the similarities in pay and assignment duration, going to Guam looks more like what taking a locum tenens assignment within the continental U.S. looks like,” Brown says.

Get one doctor’s take here.

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Canada: Good work/life balance, good pay, pretty places

In Canada, healthcare operates as a single-payer government system with some private hospitals and clinics too. Locum tenens physicians earn a similar salary as they would in the U.S. The quality of care and the facilities rank high, but physicians work with large case loads. That said, many locum tenens physicians report that Canadian physicians experience a better work/life balance and lower burnout rates than U.S. physicians. Additionally, assignments can take physicians to especially beautiful places.

We offer two scenarios in Canada:

  1. The typical international locum tenens situation where you’re not responsible for client billings and instead receive a pre-negotiated salary.
  2. A longer-term model. “Physicians can own part of the practice and begin to set up their long-term home in the community,” Brown says.

We can arrange for a Canadian citizen to begin practicing in Canada within two weeks. For a U.S. doctor, it takes three to six months to get everything, such as visas and licenses approved, but, as with all our international placements, we secure these for you.

Take the leap

If you’re considering an international placement, we can help you turn your dream into reality.

“Reach out to us with what you want your adventure, downtime, and medical practice to look like, and we can help you find the perfect fit,” says Brown. “Helping place physicians in the right assignments is what we do.

Click the button below to browse our current opportunities. Or just pick up the phone and give us a call at 1.800.760.3174.  

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Topics: Canada, Locum Tenens, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Guam, Health systems

Guam can launch a new phase of your medical career

Posted by Mark A. Kellner


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Picture yourself in paradise: warm ocean waters, 
dozens of sparkling beaches, exotic food and culture, oh, and year-round temperatures between the low 70s and mid-80s Fahrenheit.

Imagine that this locale needs the exact medical skills you have honed over the years, and is willing to reward you with an enviable lifestyle and environment.

Now imagine, that this place — the Micronesian island of Guam, to be precise — is part of the United States, which means they use U.S. currency and already recognize U.S.-trained physicians (among other familiar elements of life in the U.S.). Contrary to recent news reports, Guam is actually a very safe and tranquil country and traveling there is as simple as traveling to another state—no passport or visa required.

You don’t have to imagine, though, really. Everything said about Guam here is 100-percent true. It’s a paradise, it’s a U.S. territory, and it has a continuing need for physicians who are willing to relocate to this unique, beautiful and exciting part of the world for as little as six months.

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A Living Travel Brochure

Guam is a living travel brochure. There are great hiking trails, spectacular sunsets, endless beaches and enough history to keep you well occupied.

The local culture has influences from Spain, Japan, the Philippines and the U.S.; the food is varied (and delicious) and culture abounds. Guam is also the place where the United States greets the day  some 14 or 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (with daylight savings time making the difference). It’s also the place where America first welcomes each new year.

The island’s population hovers around the 160,000 mark, and the majority of residents are of Chamorro descent. The presence of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps is another feature of the island, which is also a popular tourism destination for visitors from Japan and the rest of Asia.

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Medical Opportunities Abound

For a variety of reasons, including a growing population, there are constant opportunities for locum tenens assignments in Guam: physicians are needed who can provide general and specialized care. Global Medical Staffing regularly sees temporary opportunities that range from 6-12 months (or longer) both on Guam and occasionally surrounding islands as well. In most cases, perks such as airfare, housing, travel and malpractice coverage are included. Schedules, shifts, call coverage and patient loads will vary with each opportunity.

In 2014, Guam Business Magazine noted recent improvements in medical care on the island, as well as the high standards required for incoming physicians to be licensed there: “New physicians coming to Guam must have U.S. residency training beyond the first year after medical school, and new physicians must be board-eligible or board-certified before they can be licensed on Guam.”

While the number of physicians on the island has increased in recent years, there remains a demand for general and specialty care. If you are U.S.-residency trained and are board-eligible or board-certified, there’s likely a place on Guam for you.

We see reoccurring needs for emergency medicine physicians, internal medicine physicians and pediatricians, but we regularly place other specialties as well. Click below to learn more about current locum tenens opportunities, or pick up the phone and call your GMS international placement specialist to discuss current or future assignments. We’re always here to answer any questions you might have.
Opportunities in the Pacific Islands

Topics: Global Medical Staffing, doctor, physician, Locum 101, Locum Tenens, Pacific Islands, Pacific Island, locum tenens lifestyle, benefits of locum tenens, CHG Healthcare, Guam

Locums for a Small World Blog

Twice a month, our inquisitive locum tenens community asks us to tackle topics ranging from cuisine and culture to recreation and entertainment. We also include great storytelling from our doctors. Have a topic you’d like to read about? Let us know.

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