Locums for a Small World Blog

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: benefits of locum tenens, locum tenens lifestyle, travel, Locum Tenens, Oregon, Arizona, 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

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

9 reasons to work locum tenens after residency

Posted by Kari Redfield

Residency
After long hours with low pay and years of education and training, you’ve finished your residency. Hurray! It’s a momentous occasion.

At this point, many doctors take a long-term position, but some opt to go with a locum tenens assignment instead. Locum tenens allows new physicians the chance to explore, travel, gain additional experience, make great money, and find work-life balance — among numerous other benefits.

Here are nine reasons physicians choose to work locum tenens after residency.

1. The experience.

Locum tenens provides freedom, flexibility, and travel opportunities.

“Someone who just completed residency has put in a lot of hard work that was very structured and dictated to them. Now, they can get out there and do what they want to do,” says Adriann Mathis, director of Global Medical Staffing’s domestic division. “Locum tenens provides physicians an incredible opportunity to have work-life balance, the opportunity to get out there while still being in love with the practice of medicine, and the ability to do some traveling while making a great living,”

2. Earn more money.

Domestic locum tenens positions pay competitively with long-term positions, and some pay even more than a typical full-time position, particularly if a client needs to get a shift covered right away or in certain high-demand specialties like psychiatry.

In addition to the potential for a higher salary, locum tenens positions include housing or a housing allowance, along with malpractice insurance coverage, and some even include a transportation allowance.

3. Test run a geographical location or healthcare facility.

Not sure where you want to settle down. You can try out different locations across the U.S. with a locum tenens assignment. We have numerous positions in many locations across the country. You also might be able to find a locum tenens position in a specific healthcare facility in order to get a feel for the team, administrators, and working style ahead of signing a long-term contract.

“Locum tenens provides so many more options to figure out where you ultimately want to land. Or maybe you’ll find that you want a career doing locum tenens and not feel so tied down to one practice or one setting,” Mathis says.

4. Gain exposure to different practice settings, care delivery models, and health systems.

Experiencing how healthcare is delivered in remote parts of the U.S. or other parts of the world can put a fresh spin on medicine. Depending on the assignment, you can see what it’s like to practice in a small hospital, a small private practice, a large hospital, or even a government-funded healthcare system like New Zealand or Australia.

5. Work-life balance.

With locum tenens, you can show up, work your 40 hours, and detach without being responsible for client billings, lots of on-call hours, and vast amounts of paperwork. This is a perfect way to recover from the long hours of medical school and residency, explains Dr. Johnny Shen. Dr. Shen so enjoys the work-life balance that working tenens provides that he’s made it his full-time career, and he’s only one of numerous doctors choosing this route for most or all of their careers.

6. For international assignments: New culture, new country, decent pay — plus, you’ll broaden your knowledge and CV.

International assignments allow you to live like a local somewhere else. You’ll spend enough time in the new place to thoroughly explore it, while meeting a network of locals (who often become friends) that will steer you to the location’s very best places. Additionally, with locum tenens, you’re working in areas of need, so your medical skills truly help people, which also expands your skill set and adds to your CV.

“Physicians take international assignments for different reasons,” says Matt Brown, director of Global Medical Staffing’s international division. “For instance, physicians go to New Zealand for the experience, for the lifestyle, and for the travel opportunities. Physicians go to Guam because it’s close to everything you would want to see in Asia, pays a U.S. wage, offers shorter assignments, and is our U.S. healthcare system that physicians are familiar with. Australia provides typical U.S. physician pay and allows you to travel extensively all around Asia.”

Read more here.

7. A long-term, high-paying practice in another country.

For physicians looking to make a permanent move to another country, locum tenens provides the perfect route. We secure the assignment, the work visa, and pay many of the travel/living expenses for the duration of the initial contract. This sets up a physician to more easily secure a resident visa and begin living in the foreign country permanently.

Dr. Tara Piech pursued locum tenens with the goal of using it as a stepping-stone to move permanently to New Zealand. Dr. Piech, her husband, and son were drawn to New Zealand "for the weather, the nature, the relaxed lifestyle, the sensible political climate, and the universal medical care," she says. She took a locum tenens assignment as soon as she retired from the military and made it permanent from there.

"We also have physicians who complete a typical international contract of nine months to a year and fall in love with the area, the people, and the way of practicing medicine," says Lindsey Schoenberg, Global Medical Staffing placing manager. "Some of them then rearrange their life to make a permanent move possible.

8. Waiting for your life partner to finish school or residency.

If you have a partner still in residency or undergoing some other type of job training, locum tenens can provide you with money and valuable experience — while your partner catches up so you can look for full-time positions together.

9. Autonomy.

For good reason, residencies and teaching hospitals are set up to help ensure that an individual’s inexperience does not harm a patient — and many larger facilities continue to somewhat limit autonomy. If you are looking for more responsibility, with locum tenens, you can choose an assignment that’s a better fit.



Whatever you’re looking for in your career, locum tenens can help you find it.

“I get really excited for this younger group of doctors who are graduating because of the opportunity that locum tenens provides,” Mathis says. “With locum tenens, they have the freedom to go out and explore while making a really great living. When I was younger, I thought that medicine always meant 80-hour workweeks and not much work-life balance. Locum tenens really helps to provide that balance. You can work as much or as little as you like. Additionally, physicians go into medicine because they think of the impact they can have on people’s health and well-being, and with locum tenens, they can truly focus on the patients and not have to worry about running a practice or hospital politics.”

Ready to explore our positions yourself? Click the orange button below to browse our current openings or give us a call at 1.800.760.3174.

Search our current physician opportunities

Topics: benefits of locum tenens, locum tenens lifestyle, international locum tenens opportunity, residency, residents, work life balance

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

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, Guam, Pacific Islands, travel, urgent care, Family, Spouse, benefits of locum tenens

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

Physician reinvigorates her love for practicing medicine while adventuring on the other side of the world

Posted by Kari Redfield

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Have you ever wanted to get off the beaten path to travel, revitalize the passion for your career, and experience another culture? Dr. Sara Jalali chose exactly that when she lined up a six-month international locum tenens assignment in Whanganui, New Zealand, through Global Medical Staffing.

“It feels like a working holiday. I just love seeing the country!” says Dr. Jalali.

Dr. Jalali first contemplated international locum tenens after hearing about it at a conference during her residency. Over the years, she kept coming back to the idea, and eventually took steps to make it a reality.

Her only regret? This assignment lasts only six months.

A family affair

As part of putting the assignment into motion, Dr. Jalali’s husband took a sabbatical from work in order to join her.

“He just can't rest, so he ended up doing a couple pro bono projects for local organizations here in Whanganui,” she says with a laugh. “I joke that he’ll run for mayor one day because he seems to know everyone.” He also took time in New Zealand to pursue a passion: building a guitar."

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Today I stopped by our neighbor's wood shop to see my husband's progress building a bass under the guidance of Kevin, a luthier. Whanganui is a very artistic town with opportunities for classes in woodworking, ceramics, glass blowing, and just about anything else you want to try!

Discovering gorgeous vistas and yummy foods

Dr. Jalali and her husband love Whanganui’s beauty and its artistic culture. It makes for an ideal home, even if only for a half year.

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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.

They’ve extensively explored the town, made many friends, and delighted in the local cuisine, which Dr. Jalali calls “truly farm-to-table fresh.”

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Check out this photo from an egg shop where you can pick your eggs based on size, single or double yolk, free range, etc. On that note, not far from here you can get unpasteurized milk out of a vending machine!

In order to travel all over New Zealand, Dr. Jalali works a stretch of shifts over two weeks, then takes advantage of a week or more off. After the assignment, they plan to see Fiji and Australia as well.

Medicine that matters

New Zealand allows doctors to spend more time with patients and provide care to those who truly need it, something Dr. Jalali finds refreshing.

“The people are lovely — so appreciative, patient, and kind. Patients often tell me, ‘You can send me home; you guys are busy, and other patients need this bed more than I do,’ ” says Dr. Jalali.

Because of this, the assignment has helped revitalize her passion for medicine.

“Only three years out of residency, I already started feeling burned out. Coming here has reminded me why I went into emergency medicine in the first place. This is what I always thought practicing in my field would entail.”

The clinics and hospitals where locum tenens physicians work make sure that new staff quickly get indoctrinated into the new culture through cultural training, along with the ongoing help of cultural liaisons.

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Meet two valuable colleagues in the Emergency Department: Ren and Kiri, liaisons for our Maori Health Services who assist our multidisciplinary teams with family-centered care, discharge planning, and community services. Their invaluable support facilitates relationships between patients, families, and staff.

“Oh, and the ED facilities are absolutely first-rate,” she adds. “The technology is even more up to date than the big name hospitals in the U.S. that I came from!”

Dr. Jalali urges physicians to give international locum tenens a go. It delivers opportunities to travel, get a new perspective on medicine, and do meaningful work. “Just do it,” she says. “It provides such amazing experiences.”

Dr. Jalali recently took over our Instagram to share pictures from her locum tenens assignment in New Zealand. Head over to our Instagram page to see all her photos.

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.

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Topics: New Zealand, Locum Tenens, Family, Spouse, Whanganui, emergency medicine, burnout

‘Can my spouse work?’ plus other visa-related questions about international locum tenens

Posted by Kari Redfield

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Imagine jetting to the other side of the world where you’ll immerse yourself in the local culture, travel extensively, and work a flexible schedule. Through our international locum tenens program, many physicians — and their spouses — live like locals in another country.

The idea of taking a break from our incredibly demanding, fast-paced U.S. medical field to see other parts of the world while still earning a living tends to get physicians dreaming. When couples consider how to make it a reality, many logistics come into play, such as whether both need to work or if just one can. For some, the former holds true. Other couples purposefully free up their spouse in order to more fully explore the new area.

Whatever your situation, this Q&A with Andee Nelson, an international placement specialist at Global Medical Staffing, will help clear up basic questions about visas and your spouse’s work privileges.

Can my spouse work too?
Whether or not your spouse can work will depend on many factors, including the location of the assignment, your spouse’s line of work, and your length of stay.

In New Zealand and Australia, where we place many international locum tenens physicians, the rules are that your spouse can work via your work visa if: 

  1. You work there for more than six months.
  2. Your spouse gets any necessary certifications/licenses to work in his/her profession.

We placed a physician in New Zealand, for example, whose wife wanted to work as a teacher. New Zealand recognized her U.S. training and schooling as valid, allowing her to secure the necessary professional certifications in advance of their trip.

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Why does an assignment need to last more than six months for my spouse to work?
A six-month assignment means that you, the physician, and your spouse must enter and leave the country in 182 days — not a day later — and this type of visa does not allow your spouse to work. If you both want to work, let your recruiter know as soon as possible, so we can secure an assignment that’s longer than six months.

Also, if you want to stay in the country longer than 182 days in order to travel, tell us upfront so we can secure the proper visa(s) and assignment to accommodate the extra travel time.

How long does the visa process take?
From when our physicians accept a locum tenens assignment, it takes four to six months to complete the medical registration and attain a visa, which we secure for our physicians.

Can we secure our own visas?
No. We do this for you because you need a job and in-country sponsor before you can apply for your medical certification and visa.

Does my spouse need a sponsor/job offer in the country before we go?
No, not in New Zealand and Australia. In these two countries, your spouse can work under your visa so they don’t need an upfront job offer, in-country sponsor, and separate visa. That said, your spouse may need to secure some type of certification/license to work in his/her field — and you should look into this in advance of your trip.

Can my Global Medical Staffing recruiter help my spouse find work?
If your spouse works as a physician, then yes, we can certainly look to place you both in the same city. If not, then it’s difficult for us to get too involved. That said, let us know if your spouse wants to work so we can secure the proper visa and assignment. Also, we can talk to our in-country clients to see if they know people in your spouse’s field. For example, one spouse worked as a nurse, and although the hospital where we placed our physician didn’t have a position for her, our client connected her to a hospital that did.

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Are there typically job opportunities for spouses where you place international locum tenens physicians?
That depends both on the location and your spouse’s field. The bigger the city, the more options your spouse likely will have. Remember that we place physicians in areas of need, which tend to be more rural. So even though we place extensively in Australia, we don’t often see opportunities in Sydney or Melbourne because there’s not a need there. However, we do frequently place physicians in Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand, which are both big cities.

What can we do to prepare if we both want to work?
Research what jobs are available and where, keeping in mind where we place physicians. Also find out what types of certifications/licenses are necessary for your spouse to work in his/her professional field in the country where you’re considering a locum tenens assignment. If possible, try to speak with people with experience in that field in that country to gain additional insights.

Can my spouse volunteer while we’re abroad?
Although placing people in volunteer positions isn’t within our realm of expertise and responsibility, we have noticed that some spouses take on volunteer work for altruistic reasons and in order to meet people and get more immersed in the local culture — and because volunteering often doesn’t require special certifications/licenses or visas. If interested, definitely talk to us about it and we can connect you with the in-country client who may know of opportunities.

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My spouse may be able to work remotely with their company for six to nine months. Are there special visa considerations?
Neither New Zealand nor Australia would classify your spouse as working in their country for visa purposes since the employer is U.S.-based. For this reason, for these two countries, we would secure a visitors visa for your spouse when we secure your work visa. Other countries apply different rules to this same situation — so you can get more specific with your recruiter when you’re looking at assignments together.

If you’re considering international locum tenens, check out our open positions, do some research about your spouse’s work options, and give us a call at 800.760.3174.

Although we can’t find your spouse a job, we can help point them in the right direction and provide additional resources. Who knows … soon, the two of you could be learning to surf and snorkel, exploring underwater caves, trying exotic foods, immersing yourselves in a different culture, and spending many days simply admiring remote natural wonders — all on the other side of the world.

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Topics: Australia, New Zealand, Locum Tenens, Volunteer work, Visas, Family, Spouse

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

How a Physician Who Loves Traveling Reaps the Benefits of International Locum Tenens

Posted by Kari Redfield

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We’re spotlighting one of our international locum tenens physicians: Dr. Sean Ryan. He chose locum tenens because he loves experiencing other cultures like a local. This prompted him to take an assignment to New Zealand when his daughter was a toddler.

“I was there for six months and received the same vacation as a regular, full-time employee, which was three weeks off. In addition to all kinds of weekend explorations, we [my wife, daughter and myself] took two big trips, one through the North Island, where we went blackwater rafting on innertubes through glowworm caves. The other was to the South Island, where we were able to take a boat trip to Milford Sound, hike on a glacier, and go wine tasting and whale watching."

While on his New Zealand assignment through Global Medical Staffing Dr. Ryan, a psychiatrist, worked with the Māori Mental Health Team that served New Zealand’s native Polynesian people. The team greets all new providers with a traditional welcoming ceremony.

“It was such a welcome beyond anything I would have expected,” says Dr. Ryan. “Additionally, my colleagues were so inviting. I couldn’t have felt more part of that team while I was there.”

The natural splendor of the remote tropics often left him awestruck. “It was so beautiful. Parua Bay was just outside our house, and we could see wildlife and go on hikes deep into the forest right out the front door.”

After that six-month locum tenens assignment, Dr. Ryan took a second assignment in Tasmania, Australia.

"We loved living in Tasmania. Hobart is a fun, walkable city that's surrounded by beautiful nature.  We were close to waterfalls and giant tree fern forests, and we loved seeing wild animals like wallabies and echidnas on our hikes."

In between the two assignments, he and his family spent time exploring the Cook Islands, Fiji and Bali.  While in Australia, they visited Sydney, Melbourne, and went scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef.

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New Zealand: A Slower Pace of Life

In the northern, more tropical part of New Zealand, the facilities were small and simple, reminding Dr. Ryan of his past experience in the Eastern Caribbean’s Saint Lucia. Sometimes lab work and radiological exams took longer than in the U.S., but Dr. Ryan quickly adjusted to the differences. In fact, for psychiatry in particular, the slower pace perhaps was more beneficial for patients in order to get more time with physicians and longer in-hospital stays when necessary, he says.

“I reminded myself that it doesn’t matter what country you’re in, the goal is the same: to take care of patients. My advice to other international locum tenens doctors is to settle into that idea, and you’ll have a much easier time adjusting.”

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City Life in Australia

His Tasmanian experience was in a modern hospital, similar to the U.S. teaching hospital where he did his residency. There, he made a point of introducing himself to people and setting up social outings in order to get to know his colleagues well, which created lifelong friendships.

That’s the second piece of advice he offers doctors who take an international locum tenens assignment: Get out and meet people.

How Locum Tenens Works

Global Medical Staffing took care of all the logistics for Dr. Ryan, from helping secure Dr. Ryan’s medical licensure for working internationally, to arranging the family’s housing, to booking the flights.

“They even helped with a poorly working vacuum when the landlord was giving us the runaround and just let us purchase one and get reimbursed,” Dr. Ryan points out, a big deal to a family with a toddler. His Global Medical Staffing recruiter also helped the family look into licensing requirements for his wife, a speech pathologist, to see if it was feasible for her to work in Australia as well. “Global Medical Staffing made everything so much easier,” he explains. She opted instead to volunteer at a local vocational college, helping refugees and immigrants learn English, and had an incredible experience.

Although in the U.S. locum tenens assignments pay really well, international locums rates are typically lower. But with the hospitals providing their housing and transportation, Dr. Ryan’s family was actually able to save money, even while traveling extensively. “We thought we would need extra money to do this, and it turned out we put money into savings instead, which was a nice surprise,” says Dr. Ryan.

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Ready for More Overseas Adventure

Dr. Ryan is already excited to take on another international assignment when his daughter graduates from high school. In the meantime, in addition to his full-time practice he occasionally takes on a weekend locum tenens assignment in places like Santa Cruz, California, a city he loves visiting.

He says to other healthcare professionals: “Don’t hesitate to look into international locum tenens. It's easier than it seems, especially with a locum tenens company like Global Medical Staffing that assists throughout the whole thing. I can’t wait to go do it again.”

Ready for your own international locum tenens adventure? You can view our current opportunities here. Or just pick up the phone and give us a call at 1.800.760.3174. We're always here to discuss your options and answer any questions you might have.
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Topics: Locum 101, Locum Tenens, physician, doctor, benefits of locum tenens, locum tenens lifestyle, Global Medical Staffing, CHG Healthcare, Australia, New Zealand

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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