Locums for a Small World Blog

Physician chooses Australian locum tenens assignment for the medical experience and the adventure

Posted by Kari Redfield

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After Dr. Mike Spertus finished his post-residency fellowship, he applied for an international locum tenens position and is now about halfway through that assignment in Perth, Australia. He’s thrilled to be there, he says, and loves many things about the job, including: the flexibility, the clinical experiences, the travel opportunities, and the work/life balance.

“You don’t have call-time or overtime,” he explains about his full-time role as a general practitioner. “You're not staying late to catch up on billing or case notes. And you get four weeks vacation right off the bat.” All of that makes it kind of feel a bit like a working vacation, he adds.

Valuable medical experience
One thing that drew Dr. Spertus to this assignment was the clinic’s openness to him doing some integrative medicine — the focus of his fellowship — such as acupuncture. “It took a little bit to get the acupuncture going, but I was able to. And I am really happy that my practice was open to this,” he says.

At the clinic, he has seen newborns, pregnant women, adolescents, adults, and geriatric patients too — all with a wide variety of ailments.

“It’s a big mix,” he says. “The clinical experience has been quite valuable. I see mental health cases and also do pain management too.”

Another thing that drew him to Australia is the high incidence of skin cancer, as skin cancer is one of his medical interests. “Probably 20 percent of my cases are skin cancer,” he explains. “It's a fairly large portion of my practice, which is what I wanted.”

While on assignment, Dr. Spertus has received additional training in skin cancer protocols and mental health treatment. He appreciates how supportive the clinic has been of these educational seminars, as well as the opportunities to visit Melbourne and Sydney.

Practicing medicine in Australia
Australia provides healthcare to all citizens, resulting in some differences from the U.S. system, particularly in billing management. “Healthcare is basically guaranteed, and the system is so much more streamlined because of that,” he explains.

That’s one of the things that Dr. Spertus loves about his assignment in Australia — the streamlined healthcare system.

“Everything at our clinic is pretty much a bulk-billing practice to the government. It makes billing super simple,” he explains.

There is a bit of a hybrid system in Australia, points out Dr. Spertus, with some people getting private insurance on top of the government healthcare. When that happens, practitioners in Australia still don’t have to worry about billing insurance companies, as the patient is responsible for that part, making it easy for them to concentrate on providing quality healthcare instead of doing admin work.

Exploring Australia and Bali
One of Dr. Spertus’ favorite sightseeing experiences in Australia is the beach. “It’s readily accessible with some of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen!” he says with a smile. “The scenery, the beautiful turquoise water, the soft sand, the beautiful topography in Western Australia with the cliffs and everyone surfing, are stunning. And I love seeing and hearing all of the animals that are so different from the ones in the U.S.”

He adds, “Kangaroos are everywhere, even close to the city and on the beach.”

He also likes seeing Australia’s bird species and other wildlife, like quokkas, a marsupial animal that's native to Rottnest Island off of Perth.

Dr. Spertus routinely visits the local vineyards and has adventured into the outback for camping and exploration too. He went to Bali twice already, for a yoga retreat and for exploration.

“Bali is closer from Perth than most Australian cities — and cheaper to get to,” he points out.

Working locum tenens after residency or post-fellowship
Dr. Spertus recommends that other physicians sign up for an international locum tenens assignment, especially right out of residency or post-fellowship before getting tied down.

“Definitely give it a go,” he encourages. “International locum tenens is oftentimes a once in a lifetime chance. Try to make it work for you, because it's a really great experience. And you get help from your agency for it too.” 

Read more:

Interested in starting your own international locum tenens adventure? Browse our current opportunities by clicking the button below. Or give us a call at 1.800.760.3174. We're always here to answer any questions you might have.

Search our current physician opportunities

Topics: Locum Tenens, Australia, Western Australia, travel, Perth, locum tenens lifestyle, Australian healthcare, benefits of locum tenens, residency, residents, work life balance, Instragram

Top 5 U.S. states to work locum tenens jobs

Posted by Kari Redfield

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Explore the country, contributing your valuable medical skills where they’re most needed — while earning good money. That’s all possible with locum tenens. Right now, we have openings all across the U.S.

Some physicians choose to do locum tenens full-time, in order to gain work/life balance, spend time with family, and choose their own hours. Other physicians take on occasional locums work in order to travel to their bucket list destinations. Isn’t it time that you did something for yourself? Went someplace new? Tried something different?

Why not line up an assignment — and explore while you’re there? Oh, and did we mention the perks? In most cases, we pay for your airline flights, housing, and malpractice insurance. We’ll help you through the licensing and credentialing processes. Plus, wherever you go, you’ll be adding to your CV while helping people where you’re needed and appreciated.

Not sure where to go? Here are the five top states to explore:

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  1. California: Sea to mountains, city to country, and everything in between!

One of our regular locums physicians likes to visit Santa Barbara in order to take on some locum tenens shifts, to see friends, and to enjoy the sights and food. Many other locum tenens doctors choose to take assignments in iconic California, too. And why not? In California, you can explore wine country; walk through Hollywood; and visit Yosemite, the Redwoods, Joshua Tree, Lake Tahoe, and all of the other wild wonders. From city life to remote mountains to beautiful beachside sunsets to all kinds of entertainment, California has variety and splendor for everyone.

Ready to go on your own Californian adventure and get paid for it? Contact us today, as a permanent California license takes about 16 weeks to secure. We’ll help you through it, and typically cover the cost.

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  1. Massachusetts: History, beer, sports, water — and more!

There’s so much to do in Massachusetts, from the famous Massachusetts Whale Trail — which links nearly 40 museums, attractions, whale watching excursions, historic sites, and tours — to the legendary sites in Boston, to a replica of the original Mayflower boat, to the wonders of Cape Cod and Nantucket. And there’s crabbing, clamming, fishing — and so much more! Food, brew pubs, arts, theater, sports, and many activities captivate tourists and locals alike.

Western Massachusetts is beautiful, full of lush green hills in the Berkshires, to the dazzling foliage along the Mohawk Trail, America’s first scenic road drive (and yes, you can hike through the forest there, too). Hike and bike this side of the state — or go on a local food tour via the quant bed-and-breakfasts and spas.

Oh, and who wouldn’t want to enjoy New England’s dazzling colors in fall? And don’t forget the 14,000 acres of active cranberry bogs. 

Sound fun? Get started, as generally, licensing takes 16 weeks, so contact us today if you’re interested, and we’ll help you through the process.

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  1. North Carolina: Mountains, valleys, and sea

North Carolina has mountains, valleys, and miles of seashore. Whether you’re looking for an urban retreat, or something off the beaten path for all kinds of recreational adventure (from fishing, hot air ballooning, sky diving, hiking, biking, skiing, golf, rock climbing, and more), you can find it in North Carolina. Visit eclectic cafes and breweries, moonshine distilleries, vineyards, historic landmarks, museums about the Wright brothers and their famous Kitty Hawk and so many other historical eras — and lots more.

As the locals say, “North Carolina has long been associated with sweet tea, NASCAR and the Duke-Chapel Hill basketball rivalry.” All true, but there’s much more too.

Licensing takes about six weeks, so get started with us today.

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  1. Minnesota: They call it ‘Minnesota nice’ for a reason

Minnesota boasts more than 10,000 natural glacial lakes and is perhaps the origins of politeness, with down-to-Earth people who know how to work hard and express their gratitude. If you like nature, water, and water sports (from top-notch fishing lakes to water skiing), then be sure to visit. With so many lakes and rivers, Minnesota has more miles of shoreline than California, Florida, and Hawaii combined.

The Twin Cities (the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area) features culture galore, including numerous museums, more than 120 theater companies, tons of local music, and good food. With so many parks and green space, you can bike from one side of Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area to the other on bike paths with nary leaving greenspace.

Southwestern Minnesota features prairie land, quiet spaces, and simple, uber affordable living. Northern Minnesota, is the land of lakes and forests, with Duluth acting as the gateway to Lake Superior, which is so big that all the other Great Lakes combined could fit into it, with waves sometimes as tall as 40 feet.

Licensing in Minnesota can take about six weeks, so reach out to us today!

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  1. Michigan: The Great Lake State, industry central, and Motown

From Mackinac Island, where no cars are allowed, to the origins of American industry, to jumping off into adventure on any of the four Great Lakes, Michigan has a lot to offer. Uniquely, no matter where you are in Michigan, you’re always within 85 miles of one of the Great Lakes’ shorelines. The Upper Peninsula is known for rugged living, splendid wildlife, numerous lakes, and nature. It’s a must-see at least once in a lifetime and the perfect spot for any type of outdoor adventure. In the Lower Peninsula, visit museums to see the birthplace of modern industry, explore the roots of Motown, dine on fine or fun food, see live music, and go to festivals, farmers markets, and more.

As the locals say it, “Whether you are an urban adventurer or an outdoor enthusiast, a foodie or a thrill-seeker, traveling with your family or making memories with friends — you are on the brink of planning a vacation so unique, it can only be classified as Pure Michigan.”

Plan around six weeks to get your license. Contact us today!

Get started on your adventure

Ready to explore your own locum tenens adventure? Ready to treat yourself to some travel? Click the button below to browse our current openings, or give us a call at 1.800.760.3174.

Search our current physician opportunities

Topics: Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Locum Tenens, United States, California, travel, michigan, locum tenens lifestyle, benefits of locum tenens, work life balance

Check out these inspiring photos of recent locum tenens assignments — and go on an adventure to Guam, Northern California, and New Zealand

Posted by Kari Redfield

Check out these inspiring photos of recent locum tenens assignments — and go on an adventure to Guam, Northern California, and New Zealand

Our locum tenens physicians take assignments in gorgeous parts of the world, in both the U.S. and abroad. Take a break and send your dreams soaring with these recent photos from three physicians. They’re sure to inspire your own locums adventure.

Meet Dr. Anita Haugabrook

Doc Nita recently moved from a full-time long-term position to locum tenens in order to passionately practice medicine, regain work/life balance, set her own schedule, and travel to new places. Here’s a look at some photos from her Northern California adventure:

Here I am flying out to Northern Cali. What beautiful views. When my recruiter asked me the primary location that I wanted to experience, I told her California! And she made it happen!

The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas — the largest Buddhist monastery in western society! 

Every Saturday in Ukiah, they block off one of the streets downtown for the farmers market! The vegetables were so fresh and colorful.

Amazing views... I love Ukiah!

Meet Dr. Anu Taylor

Many physicians choose an assignment in Guam because they can take an assignment as short as three months — and use the adventure as a jumping off point to explore all of Asia. Here are some of Dr. Taylor’s favorite sites:

Chamorro fire dance on the beach in front of Jimmy Dee's.

My favorite — Tom yum gai soup! 

Hey everyone! I’m at work today. Guam memorial hospital is a government hospital. We make a difference here to the locals, and they appreciate us. Patients are very sweet, nurses are very self-sufficient and fun. Schedule is optimal for a real work-life balance, and with two weeks off, we docs travel often — Japan, Bali, Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap, to name a few.

Sunset over Citi Point, Guam. You can hike down to the beach and back and it will only take you six hours — definitely a difficult terrain but what fun!

Meet Dr. Sara Jalali

Dr. Jalali recently took a six-month international locum tenens assignment in Whanganui, New Zealand, bringing along her husband. She says it has reinvigorated her passion for medicine. “It feels like a working holiday. I just love seeing the country!” Here are a few of her photos:

Yes, that's a baby alpaca! Not only did I get to take one for a walk, but I got to feed the mamas by hand and cuddle with handfuls of new babies. The farm I visited was only a short drive away and there are more farms and cute animals everywhere you look!

Before I got here, I had this idea in my head that small town government funded hospital meant old, outdated equipment. I couldn't have been more wrong! From the moment I stepped inside the ED I was pleasantly surprised at the state of the art technology.

My hubby and I had big plans to cook tonight, but 5 minutes later we were headed down the road toward Castlecliff Beach to visit our favorite burger spot in town. Aside from the killer food, one of my favorite things about this street is the unique landscape. Our famous celebrity ceramic artist, Ivan Vostinar, was the sole potter for the Hobbit movies. He is now a Whanganui local! His studio is across the street from the restaurant.

Check out this sunset view from our home. We feel so lucky to look out the window and see the famous Whanganui River snaking around the city to our left, and lush green hills with sheep, donkeys, chickens, and horses to our right! This town has a perfect blend of rural and urban vibes.

Subscribe for more photos

All three of these physicians recently took over our Instagram account. Head over to our page to check out many more photos right here.

Want to start your own locum tenens adventure? Browse our current opportunities by clicking the button below. Or give us a call at 1.800.760.3174. We're always here to answer any questions you might have.

Search our current physician opportunities

Topics: Locum Tenens, United States, New Zealand, travel, Pacific Islands, locum tenens lifestyle, benefits of locum tenens, work life balance, Instragram

Domestic vs. international: Which locum tenens assignment is right for you?

Posted by Kari Redfield

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Ready to escape the demanding hours of your long-term physician position and instead gain work/life balance, while earning a good living? Want to travel near or far, while getting paid? Then, chances are, locum tenens can benefit you.

An important consideration is whether to take a domestic assignment or an international one. This doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition, as many physicians work both kinds during their career, points out Global Medical Staffing's Dena Sween, especially as they transition out of or back into the U.S.

Still, to help you get started on your first locum tenens assignment, we’ve broken down the pros and cons of both types.

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Dr. Anu Taylor on assignment in the U.S. territory of Guam

International assignments
Our international assignments deliver a memorable experience living like a local in another culture, while practicing first-world medicine in a safe environment, in locations such as Guam, Canada, the Caribbean, the U.K., China, or the “down under” countries of Australia and New Zealand. These positions usually involve set hours without on-call time, along with generous vacation time, allowing for extensive travel time while you are there. That’s one of the biggest reasons physicians choose international locums.

International assignments provide adventure and exposure to different health systems, which builds your CV and helps you to increase your skill level. Additionally, many physicians, like Dr. Sara Jalali, report that these assignments reinvigorate their passion for medicine, helping relieve burn out.

Another perk is that we’re placing in more areas of the world than ever before. “There are all of these fantastic options just starting to pop up, so basically what we tell people is to get on our list so that when that really cool new thing comes through, you hear about it first,” Sween says.

Challenges of international assignments can include collecting the necessary paperwork and the requirement to take on longer commitments, often one year. Although there are some three month assignments available in Guam and the Caribbean. Going to Guam and other U.S. territories requires that U.S. physicians possess a U.S. passport but no visa. Plus, as with all positions, it requires credentialing and privileging, often taking three months from the time you accept the assignment.

Paperwork for other international placements takes a little longer; the typical minimum assignment length is longer too. For instance, it usually takes three months to complete the medical registration and visa process for New Zealand, and requires a six-month minimum assignment. The paperwork for credentialing, privileging, licensing, and visa processes in Australia and Canada take six to eight months, and typically require longer assignments, usually one-year minimum.

“There’s going to be paperwork anywhere you go, domestic or international,” Sween points out. “They [the hospital administrators] need to know who’s coming in and working in their healthcare system. The fantastic thing is that we have an amazing team who walks you through all of that and holds your hand throughout the process.”

Another possible challenge of international locums might be an expectations mismatch. For instance, housing may be different from the typical U.S. set up.

“We look at what the local doctors live in, and that’s kind of the level we put doctors into,” Sween explains. “For example in New Zealand, you may not have air-conditioning; that’s standard in the area. Having that flexibility in your expectations and listening when our recruiters are setting those expectations is really important.”

She adds that part of the reason many physicians choose an international assignment is to live like a local. “It’s part of the adventure.”

Other possible challenges: Practicing medicine in another country might involve differences. Also, many people feel both excited and nervous about the assignment.

These are valid concerns, Sween points out, but it’s rare that a physician takes an international assignment and feels like it wasn’t worth their time or that their family didn’t bond because of it. The keys are to communicate your expectations with your recruiter, and then go with an open mind.

Dr. Anita HaugabrookDr. Anita Haugabrook takes a selfie with colleagues while on assignment in the U.S.

Domestic assignments
If you want less adventure or can’t leave the U.S. for several months, choose a domestic assignment instead of an international one, Sween says. Domestic assignments allow you to take on very short assignments. They provide more flexibility, more choice, and more options. You choose your pay, your schedule, and your working conditions.

“You can do weekend work. You can commit to five shifts a month,” Sween explains. “That’s the beauty of domestic work, the flexibility.”

Another benefit is that domestic assignments pay more than international assignments, and often more than a long-term position, especially for hard-to-fill shifts or specialties, like psychiatry.

Some physicians choose domestic assignments in order to spend time near their family/college kid, to tackle their travel bucket lists, or to use their skills to help a vulnerable population. Other motivations include spending more time with family, combating physician burn out, avoiding extensive admin and billing paperwork, and taking charge of their destiny.

Possible challenges can include the paperwork involved in getting licensing in other states, or for some positions, requirements can be very specific (i.e. certain certifications, experience, or training). However, don’t let those possible challenges hold you back. We have all kinds of assignments across specialties all over the U.S. and are committed to helping physicians find what they’re looking for.

Reach out to us today
If you’re interested in learning more about locum tenens, contact us. “Let us know what your expectations are, so we can find you a great fit,” Sween encourages. “And feel free to call us ahead of time, even years before you can go international. We can answer questions along the way, or place you in domestic assignments, or help you start planning in a certain direction to turn those dreams into reality.”

Ready to launch your own locum tenens adventure? Click the button below to browse our current opportunities or give us a call at 1.800.760.3174.

Search our current physician opportunities

Topics: Canada, Locum Tenens, Australia, United States, New Zealand, travel, Pacific Islands, locum tenens lifestyle, benefits of locum tenens, work life balance

Why this psychiatrist left her permanent position to embrace locum tenens

Posted by Kari Redfield

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For as long as Dr. Eva McCullars can remember, she always wanted to be a physician, just like her mom. As a child, she helped her pediatrician mother with patients, answering the phone when her mom was out treating patients on house calls. Her father is also a physician, a surgeon, so Dr. McCullars says, “I was the only child, and I grew up in medicine, so I think it’s in my genes.”

When her family moved to the U.S. from Prague, Dr. McCullars pursued her medical degree, first considering pediatrics, but deciding against that particular specialty during residency. She found her calling in psychiatry after taking a psychiatry program and loving it.

“Even though you have the same diagnoses for different people, everyone’s different,” she explains. “Everybody’s their own person. I was always an artist growing up, and to me, psychiatry’s an art because you have to combine the people’s personalities and their histories with medication, if that’s appropriate, or with a type of therapy or other interventions. Not a single person is alike.”

While working in Yuma, Arizona, at a sub-acute hospital, she ran into physicians working locum tenens, which exposed her to the idea of trying locums at some point. She gave it serious consideration later when, while working at a permanent position at a big hospital, she became dissatisfied with the way things were being run.

“It was all about the bottom-line, and patients weren’t getting good care [because of it],” Dr. McCullars explains.

So she considered moving into private practice. At the same time, her family in Oregon needed help. “The two situations came together where I was starting to be dissatisfied with my permanent job and needing to respond to my family in crises,” she says. “I thought, I can go to Oregon and work. That’s how the process [to full-time locum tenens] started.”

After making the move, the big revelation for Dr. McCullars was discovering that locum tenens provides her with a better way to practice medicine than full-time permanent positions. She feels that with locums, she is better able to make a difference to patients, use her time effectively, and share her gifts.


Benefits of working locum tenens

Why does Dr. McCullars like working locum tenens? “I like the freedom,” Dr. McCullars explains. She says that with locum tenens, she gets to make a comfortable income while going to places she has always wanted to explore. “I wouldn’t go back to a full-time permanent position,” she adds.


Dr. McCullars points out some additional benefits of locum tenens. She says, you can:
  
  • Set your own hours. For Dr. McCullars, this means working four 10-hour days a week and not having to be on call.
  • Take off time between assignments. “I like being able to work for six months and then be off for four months,” she says, which allows her to take a month to go somewhere overseas.
  • Spend time on patients, not politics. “There are a lot of pressures other than taking care of patients when in a permanent position. I love taking care of patients, and locum tenens allows me to do this without any of the other distractions,” Dr. McCullars explains.
  • Avoid being tied down to one location/facility. “Let’s say I want to work in Canada,” says Dr. McCullars. “Just to be able to go to Canada if I want [is a big benefit of locums]. As is the ability to leave a political situation when it’s time to leave.”
  • Avoid burnout. Working locum tenens allows physicians to set realistic work hours, not take work home, and to avoid much of the paperwork and politics that contribute to burnout, Dr. McCullers explains.

Dr. McCullars’ advice for physicians coming out residency


To younger doctors, she says, “It’s really hard to come out of training and make an instantaneous commitment to an area and to a facility. I think you should leave your options open…Definitely become a locums before you settle.”

READ MORE: 9 reasons to work locum tenens after residency

Dr. McCullars’ advice to other physicians

To all physicians considering locum tenens, she says, “You have nothing to be afraid of…you have lots of support along the way. The benefits: being on your own time, being able to work four days a week instead of five days a week, not doing weekends, not doing call, being able to finish an assignment and leave without worrying about the patients…That’s one of the problems of long-term jobs and private practice is you take it home with you…You don’t have to do that as a locum tenens.”

Ready to explore your own locum tenens adventure? Click the button below to browse our current openings or give us a call at 1.800.760.3174.

Search our current physician opportunities

Topics: Arizona, Locum Tenens, Oregon, travel, locum tenens lifestyle, benefits of locum tenens, residency, work life balance

How this doctor uses locum tenens to give back to the world and take control of her destiny

Posted by Kari Redfield

Anita blog 1
Dr. Anita Haugabrook (Doc Nita) first got into locum tenens during a transitional point in her career. She had just left a fulltime partner role in a physician group and wanted some time to consider options before signing a long-term contract. However, she soon fell in love with the locum tenens way of life and decided to make it permanent.

“Transitioning to the world of locums was a leap of faith. Thanks to Global Medical Staffing and my consultant, Sydnee Shelton, for making my dreams a reality!” Doc Nita says.

What Doc Nita loves is the way locum tenens allows her to passionately practice medicine, regain work/life balance, and travel to new places.

“I choose my shifts and locations, which provides me autonomy and allows me to spend more time with my family. Now, I’m back in control of my life and my destiny,” she says.

Flexibility and work/life balance
Doc Nita loves the flexibility of locum tenens and her ability to set her own schedule. “I only accept the times and places I want to work,” she says. “I literally work when I want to and don’t work when I don’t want to.”

For her, that means no nights or weekends.

With the ability to be in charge of your own schedule comes true work/life balance. That, in turn, means Doc Nita has fallen back in love with medicine after feeling burned out for years.

Helping patients
With locum tenens, instead of spending so much time handling staffing crisis and admin tasks, she can spend much of her working time doing what she loves: helping patients.

“I get to practice medicine,” she says with a smile. “When I was burned out, I wasn’t able to see the joy in my work anymore, and I went into medicine to make a difference, to get people well, and to see the joy in people when they’re feeling better. I feel like I’m helping people again.”

She loves practicing in different healthcare settings — and she loves that she can choose not to go back to a certain hospital or healthcare facility if she didn’t like the way it was managed.

Also, she says that now instead of bearing the brunt of the problems, she’s on the receiving end of gratitude.

“Almost every time I leave a shift someone tells me ‘thank you’ because they were going to be overworked without me there. I really feel the appreciation as a locum tenens physician filling in their gaps.”

Anita blog 2One of my favorite things about locums (travel medicine) is meeting and working with new people all the time! Meet my APC team at UVMC and a couple of photobombers.

Giving back
The flexibility of locum tenens has made it easier for Doc Nita to do medical mission work. So far, since she started locum tenens in August 2017, she has helped out in Panama and Costa Rica.

“The missions were eye opening and rewarding,” she shares. “I don’t complain anymore about anything in my life because of it. The people we helped would walk six miles each way to see us. They would leave the day before just so they could see us!”

Sydnee, Doc Nita’s recruiter at GMS, shares in on the joy of witnessing someone so willingly helping others.

“Doc Nita’s passion to help those who otherwise wouldn’t receive medical assistance is unparalleled,” says Sydnee. “When she shares the stories of her time abroad, she oozes with love and passion for the people she served. She speaks of how much these beautiful people have changed her view on life.”

Doc Nita adds, “I look forward to my next mission!”

Living somewhere else like a local
So far, Doc Nita has taken travel assignments in St. Louis, Missouri, and Northern California.

The way locums works is that Global Medical Staffing arranges the travel to the location. The contract also includes medical malpractice insurance and usually housing and transportation as well, with GMS taking care of the logistics, including helping with credentialing, licensing, and privileging before the assignment starts.

When on assignment, Doc Nita makes sure to take time from work to take in the local sights.

“Missouri was a good experience,” she recalls. “I worked with a physician group that was in between management teams, and it was really neat to come to help a solid group of people who had been there for a while but also were in flux. It was a well-run group. And St. Louis was a pretty neat town. It was nice visiting there and learning more about it, seeing the Arches, going to Sweetie Pie’s Restaurant for soul food, and checking out other local places.”

Doc Nita’s next traveling assignment was in Ukiah, California. “The drive to work every day is amazing because it is so beautiful!” she says. “The local culture and tribal people are amazing. The transplants are too — it’s kind of a little melting pot. I tried some local food and wine and then went to the farmers market with all of its local teas. My goal every time I go somewhere is to absorb some of the culture.”

Anita blog 4The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas — the largest Buddhist monastery in western society. Travel opportunities are of a hallmark of locum tenens. Where would you like to visit on your next assignment? Let GMS help you get there!

Choose your assignments
Finding the right assignments involves teamwork. As Sydnee puts it, “I partner with Dr. Haugabrook rather than ‘work’ with her. She has made me an equal and has so much trust in me. Her trust in me is at times intimidating and humbling! She has said to me on more than one occasion regarding her transition from her permanent job to locums, ‘Syd, you are a Godsend!’ However, I feel it is the other way around!”

This type of mutually respectful and heartfelt relationship is common between our GMS recruiters and physicians. We want to find you the right assignment that works out for your goals, needs, aspirations, and wanderlust.

Still unsure? Give it a try, says Doc Nita. “You can always try it and then go back to full time if you want. For me, I love locums and am not going back.”

Doc Nita recently took over our Instagram to share her locum tenens adventure in Ukiah, California. Head over to our page to check out her photos right here.

Want to start your own locum tenens adventure? Click the button below to browse our current opportunities. Or just pick up the phone and give us a call.

Search our current physician opportunities

Topics: Northern California, California, travel, locum tenens lifestyle, benefits of locum tenens

QUIZ: Are you ready for an international locum tenens assignment?

Posted by Bryan Chouinard

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You've thought before about an international assignment, but how do you know if the timing is right? Take our fun, short, eight-question quiz to find out whether you’re ready to head off on your own international locum tenens assignment.

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Topics: Caribbean, Canada, Locum Tenens, Australia, New Zealand, travel, Pacific Islands, international locum tenens opportunity, locum tenens lifestyle

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

QUIZ: Where should you take your next international locum tenens assignment?

Posted by Bryan Chouinard

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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.

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Topics: Caribbean, Canada, Locum Tenens, Australia, New Zealand, travel, Pacific Islands, international locum tenens opportunity, locum tenens lifestyle

Wondering if you’re ready for an international locum tenens assignment? Ask yourself these 3 foolproof questions.

Posted by Everett Fitch

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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.

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Topics: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, travel, burnout, physician burnout, international locum tenens opportunity, Maslach Burnout Inventory, benefits of locum tenens

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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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