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.”

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

Considering locum tenens? Discover the 7 best places to practice medicine in the U.S.

Posted by Everett Fitch

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Where you travel in the U.S. largely depends on what types of destinations you’re attracted to. It goes without saying that If you’re a beach-lover then you'll head to one of the coasts. If you have an affinity for the desert then you'll try the southwest; it will most certainly fascinate you. Are you in search of mountains? Then you'll want to venture toward Colorado, the Rockies. Do you yearn for great lake scenery? Then Minnesota will be your next stop on the list. Of course if you’re looking for that thick green forest then the Pacific Northwest is always a welcoming haven.

What’s our point? If your heart desires a specific landscape then there’s no reason for you as a locum tenens doctor to not seek out these types of locations. Still there’s more to choosing an assignment than just the scenery. There are other factors you should consider like: What city should I practice in and why? What kind of compensation will I receive? What is the cost of living? Will this assignment turn from temporary to permanent if I end up liking it?

These are all pertinent questions that the following blog will address. (And if not then you can always request more information from us.) In fact, Medscape puts out a yearly review of Best and Worst Places to Practice exactly with these kinds of things in mind. So if you’re new to locum tenens then you should consider reading their 2016 list. Otherwise we’ll fill you in on our own seven favorite locations to practice medicine in the U.S. Discover all of them below (in no particular order).

Minnesota

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The Midwest is grossly underestimated. Take Minnesota: sure the winters can be tough but not so tough that you can’t see the beauty in the frozen tundra still. No worries though. The summers here are amazing. There are lakes and beaches galore. Plus for those doctors seeking a good career path anywhere near the big cities – like Minneapolis for example – you’ll find excellent compensation plus low malpractice payouts according to Medscape’s 2016 article. What else will you find? Great health industry employers like the Mayo Clinic, UnitedHealth Group and St. Jude Medical to name a few.

Ohio

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Again, harkening back to our last point, the Midwest is underrated. Most people think of the cold, oncoming winter when it comes to this region of the U.S. Rarely do people see the allure of the Great Lakes nearby and the countless state parks like Hocking Hills State Park which houses Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave and Cedar Falls.

Still the bigger cities in Ohio hold more allure than you think. Columbus, for one, has an affordable cost of living plus great job opportunities. Medscape states “Ohio’s physician density hovers slightly above the national average (279.8 vs. 265.5 per 100,000 population).”

New Hampshire

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Now on to the East Coast where every season glistens in its own unique way. The White Mountains in New Hampshire hold more spring, summer and autumn mystery to the uninitiated than any other state on the eastern seaboard, so explore away. In other words you’re in for a treat if you vacation in these parts.

What else is great here? Medscape’s article states, “New Hampshire is the only Northeastern state to make Medscape’s top 10 in terms of compensation. Plus the cost of living here is the second lowest in the Northeast.

Pennsylvania

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Pennsylvania is smack dab in between the Midwest and the East Coast. It’s considered a northeastern state no doubt. Still you’ll get an eclectic mix of mountain and plains scenery in this portion of the United States.

In addition to that, the cost of living in places like Pittsburgh are very reasonable. In fact it’s, “half that of DC or San Francisco according to the AIER (American Institute for Economic Research).”

California

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It’s almost common knowledge nowadays that living along the coast of California is a tad more expensive than living in many other parts of the U.S., specifically in the Bay Area. Though, there are some cities that are slightly south of San Francisco that offer not only peace of mind in the form of adventuring through state parks and beaches but also in the abundance of assignments offered. You’re able to see the wonders of every bit of California all while supplementing your income with frequent opportunities.

Oregon

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Ah, the gritty elegance of the Pacific Northwest, what else do you need? If your assignment is in Portland, Oregon you’ve got pretty much everything you ever wanted. There are waterfall trails (Multnomah Falls) and mist-filled beaches (Cannon Beach) nearby, plus tons of local culture as well as a great restaurant scene.

Don’t let the higher cost of living bother you while working in Portland, the quality of life is still there. Again, Medscape’s 2016 review reports that, “Oregon’s economy has grown nearly three times faster than the national economy since 2001, and the Portland metro area, which accounts for three quarters of the state’s economy is the main driver.”

Arizona

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The Grand Canyon, Saguaro National Park, Petrified Forest, need we name off more amazing sights to convince you to practice medicine in Arizona? Of course we don’t. We know it’s not all about the national parks. You need more to tempt you than that.

Even though the bigger cities here do attract more physicians – the Phoenix-Scottsdale area to name one – the state still has lower physician density than the national average (234.0 per 100,000 to the nation’s 265.5 per 100,000). Never mind any of that if you’re a golfer, this state is replete with gorgeous golf courses.

There are a lot of factors to consider when taking a locum tenens assignment in the U.S. Luckily we have locum tenens experts here to help guide you in your search for a new opportunity. Are you up for a new 2017 locum tenens adventure this summer? Click the orange button below to discover all the best places to practice medicine in the U.S.

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Topics: Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, Oregon, Arizona, New Hampshire, Medscape, best places to practice medicine, Locum Tenens

Global Medical's top 10 states for locum tenens doctors to explore in 2015 (pt. 2)

Posted by Everett Fitch

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Sometimes it’s difficult to see the beauty in your own backyard. But that’s exactly what we implore you to do with the good ol’ United States. That’s why we painstakingly researched what this year’s top 10 states should be. Stop, take a breath, look around and make the familiar, unfamiliar again. Do it and you’ll see a world of adventure open up. We now present to you part two of Global Medical’s “Top 10 States to Explore” series. Read on and be inspired.

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#5 Minnesota: Find your wide-open field of dreams right here


Ah, the Midwest. We find it at the intersection of those two disparate but quintessentially American coasts: east and west. The divide between the two began in 1849, when hundreds of thousands of forty-niners, migrated to California and—legend has it—they were carrying lattes and surfboards.

Early settlers of the frontier didn’t fly at the time, but some of the states here have been erroneously dubbed “fly-over” states. Yes, erroneous because we think America’s Heartland is full of great destinations—like Minnesota. All those Gold Rushers who never made it past the Midwest—seems they found their own wide-open field of dreams right here.

Minnesota alone has 90,000 miles of beautiful shoreline—that’s more than California, Florida, and Hawaii combined. In fact, if you have a penchant for wide rivers, mighty hills and deep culture, then this state is for you: its roots run incredibly deep when it comes to adventure. Between wild places like the Minnesota River and the Southern Lakes; small-town excursions like the North Shore Beer Trail in Duluth; and Native American heritage stops all along the Minnesota River Valley, this state is an endless eruption of spoils. All that is just a smattering of potential outdoor diversions you'll experience.

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Then there’s the food. Philadelphia may have its cheesesteak, but Minneapolis has its Juicy Lucy. Plus, the folks you’ll meet in the Twin Cities area can’t be beat. Minnesotans are open, friendly, and straightforward and they prize themselves on their work ethic, heritage and independence. A sunny day in June may come with a price tag, but they take the winter weather with a shrug and a stoical smile.

In the end you don't find many places like Minnesota. Not just because it has miles of boast-worthy beaches along countless top-notch fishing lakes (Darling, Winona and Victoria to name a few). No, the real reason is because when you set foot in this portion of the U.S., it just feels like home. In fact, the Land of 10,000 Lakes is the very definition of "welcome." Come work in the middle of America; you'll leave thinking the Midwest is best, too.

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#4 Hawaii: Less neon lights, more white-sand beaches


Trust us, you won’t tire of this place. You’ll enjoy its luster. You’ll end up preferring its Pacific waves to those blaring neon lights in the contiguous United States you're used to. That's right, Hawaii replaces that stop-and-go lifestyle with its own unique glow. You’ll see it in its dissonant cliffs; in its harmonious beaches; in its twisty-turny roads; and in the tanned smile of every local that's so enormously thankful to call these shores home.

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Six islands make up this state. Three active volcanoes continue to sculpt its boundaries. And every last one of these ocean sanctuaries has quite the distinct personality. Kauai has perspective-shattering cliffs along the Napali Coast. Oahu gives just the right amount of city life while still blessing tourists with famous Hawaiian views (think Waikiki Beach). Molokai packs an incredible haymaker with its white-sand Papohaku Beach. Lanai trades in traffic lights for moon-invoking landscape at Keahikawelo (Garden of the Gods). Maui attracts artists and artisans alike due to its inspiring landscape. (Head to the top of Haleakala National Park to understand why these locals are so endlessly inspired.) And the Big Island, can we just say wow. The coffee farms of Holualoa. The rainforests of the Hamakua Coast. The black beaches of Punaluu. A few footsteps in any one of these above-mentioned sights will tempt you to abandon everything you know and let the ground below be your new home. Find yourself here.

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#3 New York: The world turns with the Empire State


When it comes to great mountain and beach destinations, New York isn't always first-to-mind. Tall buildings, yes. Hiking boots and bikinis, no. Believe it or not there are places in the Empire State where there's rarely a hint of city life and always a steady influx of relaxation. In Upstate New York for example, sky-high mountains take the place of towering skyscrapers. Gridlocked traffic is traded in for infinite hiking trails. And the bright lights of Time Square are replaced by the most star-filled skies imaginable.

Head to Northeastern New York and visit the historic and beautiful and large Lake Champlain. Fishermen know it grows the biggest bass and the rest of us know its waters host wonderful distractions: kayaking, sailing and island-hopping. You'll also see orchards and wineries and gorges and caves and the rest of the land is beautifully battle-torn from the War of 1812.

West of that, in the Finger Lakes Region, you’re surrounded by sprawling vineyards and quiet roadways. Still, this portion packs a lot of punch. We're sure Mark Twain would completely agree. He wrote his most famous works high on a hilltop (Quarry Farm) with his head literally in the clouds. We can see why he adored it so much: Victorian homes dot leagues of blue hills and breweries and festivals add luster to the city.

Farther west you can watch 40 million gallons of water rush over 170-foot cliffs at Niagara Falls. Though, the Greater Niagara region is more than crashing water. It’s also a mecca of art (think Albright Knox Museum) and architecture (Frank Lloyd Wright anyone?) And when it comes to food, where else are you going to find the original Buffalo chicken wings (Anchor Bar in Buffalo is where it all started).

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Don’t leave New York State without visiting New York City. Its skyline is world-famous and its streets and nightlife have an unmistakable beat you can’t help but dance to. The world turns with this iconic city and you should, too. Never been? A number of stops belong on your list. The Empire State Building, Central Park, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty just to name a few. After, sink your teeth into real-deal New York art (MoMA), food (A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour) and culture (Carnegie Hall).

When you depart this expansive state, you may not remember every landmark conquered but you won't soon forget the miles of Upstate country you carved, the series of NYC restaurants you frequented, and the feeling of the Empire sun beating on your back every last mile. Spend some time in New York where every moment is inescapably great.

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#2 Washington: Rain or shine, this state is picture-perfect

People travel to Washington for very specific reasons: relaxing at mountain resorts, dining at farm-to-table restaurants, driving along scenic byways, imbibing in local beer, and yes, stocking up on coffee beans.

Now, coffee may be the drug of choice in Seattle but there's a lot more to this city than skinny lattes (or dreams of winning back-to-back Super Bowls). Seattle is one of those rare American cities where you can be outdoors almost year-round without freezing or sweating. The foodie in you will appreciate the enclaves of fresh seafood restaurants and a journey through Pike Place. And come rain (no doubt about it) or shine the outdoors enthusiast in you will enjoy North Cascades National Park, plus all the vibrant seaside parks scattered along the coast.

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Southwestern Washington is in a class all its own. When you're right between Portland and Seattle nothing's out of reach. You can sip on local wines, spend a day pulling in champion-sized salmon and steelhead from nearby rivers, or take a private tour of one of the world's most famous volcanoes (Mount St. Helens).

In Eastern Washington you'll find a near infinite amount of lakes, an almost impossible expanse of mountains and a passionate-about-nature-and-nightlife city sitting beautifully in the center of it all, Spokane. More than 20 wineries are nearby but we suggest Arbor Crest since it's about the cliff-top views as much as the fantastic wine.

You can probably tell, it's not hard to paint a pretty picture of Washington. On the west, you’ve got a year-round mild climate and the greenest of views. And in the rest of the Evergreen State, you've got resorts and unending outdoor adventure. What's not to love? The residents are proud to call this cross-section of America home; when you get here you'll see why.

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#1 Arizona: A too-huge world of wonders

In Arizona everything somehow seems grander and larger than life. Long before the first cowboy rode onto the silver screen, the world's love affair with this Wild West state burned bright.

Come here to witness the spectacle that is the Grand Canyon; admire the giant saguaros (pronounced "suh-wah-ro”) that dot the Sonoran Desert; or stand at the celebrated Four Corners—the only point in the U.S. where the boundaries of four states touch (though if you read the news, the surveyors apparently missed the real mark by 2.5 miles).

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Then there’s Phoenix—the oasis town that has it all. Just imagine: you can raft in the sun-filled Salt River Canyon, hike in McDowell Preserve, and dive into endless spas and retreats all in a short amount of time. Two hours south of Phoenix you'll find another something-special city, Tucson. There aren't any beaches here, but there are deserts and mountains that frontier legends blazed through. There isn't infinite mild weather, but there are four un-boring seasons awash with color. And there aren't any waves crashing but it does grow tons of grapes, in fact, the area is surging with wineries (the region's appropriately called Napa-zona).

Ultimately, Arizona's more than warm temperatures and desert landscapes. There are caves to cool off in and forests to hike through. Find out what lava-tube-spelunking is all about in the entirely underground, 1.5-mile long Coconino Cave. Or trek near seven national parks and monuments in the world's largest ponderosa pine forest. Go on, rethink Arizona. Then grab your hiking boots and head out into this too-huge world of wonders.

Be sure to read part one of "Global Medical's top 10 states for locum tenens doctors to explore in 2015"

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Topics: Top 10 States, Washington, New York, Minnesota, Hawaii, Arizona, United States

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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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