Locums for a Small World Blog

Just the two of us: Finding a recruiter that has your back

Posted by Kari Redfield

Aristotle once said, “Friendship is essentially a partnership.” That can be said of Dr. Ronald Stiller and his physician reps at Global Medical Staffing.

Kipp Robinson, domestic recruiter at Global Medical Staffing, recruited Dr. Stiller by pointing out that Global could pay a lot more than Dr. Stiller’s permanent position, allowing less work and more travel.

“I have two passions in life: medicine and travel,” says Dr. Stiller. “If you put me on a plane and send me somewhere, I’m a pretty happy guy. My ex-wife and I took our kids to China, Australia, Europe, and Cambodia when they were growing up.”

The opportunity came just at the right time in Dr. Stiller’s professional and personal life. He was recently divorced and wanted to travel as much as possible, and Robinson was just the right personality. During that first call, they went on to have a 45-minute conversation. Since then, Robinson and Dr. Stiller have become friends.

“It was purely fortuitous that my call was with Kipp,” Dr. Stiller says. “We hit it off immediately. He’s more than my handler. He became a friend, despite the age and geographical differences.”

Robinson echoes the sentiment: “He’s my 72-year-old friend. I’ve come to him about my professional growth. He’s a father figure because he knows both medicine and hospital administration. He calls things like they are, bringing such honesty to our relationship.”

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Choosing the right assignment
Dr. Stiller mostly works a regular shift in Walla Walla, Washington, with some shifts in Spokane, Washington, and occasional shifts elsewhere to help us — and our hospital clients — out.

Dr. Stiller explains why he chose Washington state: “I was born and bred in Boston as an East Coast liberal democrat. I wanted to see something different. I wanted to travel and practice medicine.”

Locums allows exactly that — and more.

The hospitalist shift in Walla Walla, as well as some work in Spokane, felt like a great fit. It was quite different from Dr. Stiller’s East Coast life and his daughter is a medical resident in Seattle, which has allowed him to see her more often.

In addition, Dr. Stiller has always been dedicated to medical missions with Surgical Core International. He’s been all over the world, including Burma, Ethiopia, Bhutan, and Kazakhstan. With his extremely flexible locums schedule, he can continue to go on these trips, where he provides care for those who have received plastic surgery procedures after being born with deformities or having been in accidents.

“Bhutan is in the middle of the Himalayas. It’s exquisite, and a country with limited healthcare resources,” Dr. Stiller explains. “You get even deeper into the culture when do healthcare in a country, and really get to see people dealing with their struggles. For instance, some patients in Bhutan had been mauled by bears, which really put a burden on the family, village, and the person. To be able to be involved in the restoration of that, or a cleft palette, for instance, is rewarding. We get a lot back from the experience.”

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Benefits of locums
Dr. Stiller retired from his full-time position the summer after he started with us.

“He’s the poster boy for locums: highly qualified, extremely skilled, and genuine — with excessive training beyond the scope of what he’s doing for us,” Robinson says. “He was the academic attending that taught everyone how to be a doctor, and has been an influential leader for many years at his full-time position, but he’s still humble.”

Dr. Stiller, like most of our domestic physicians, gets paid well, better than a long-term position. For this reason, and because of where he is in his career, Dr. Stiller usually works one seven-days-in-a-row hospitalist shift a month with the rest of the time to travel and pursue other passions.

“He gets to practice medicine where they love him and where they make him feel wanted,” Robinson says. “He’s overqualified as a hospitalist, and there are a couple people living who would not be alive in Walla Walla if Dr. Stiller hadn’t been working. He’s an invaluable member to the team there.”

Dr. Stiller adds, “I have a new family away from home at Walla Walla. I have been able to expand my horizons and meet other people. The locums universe pays well, so lots of doctors do it for the money, but for me, I find that it’s a joyous thing to do.”

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How to choose a locum tenens agency
Having a physician recruiter that you genuinely like and connect with plays an important role in ensuring you have successful locums assignments and experiences. We at Global Medical Staffing go out of our way to develop caring relationships with our physicians — and to ensure a good personality fit between reps and doctors. This is one thing that sets us apart from other locums agencies, and something we hear often from many of our physicians.

Dr. Stiller, like many of our physicians, has met all of his Global Medical team in person. At one point during a layover in Salt Lake City (where we’re headquartered), Dr. Stiller and Robinson hiked a local mountain peak and had meals together. Dr. Stiller also got to meet the rest of his team, which include reps who handle credentialing, the travel logistics, the assignments, and the scheduling.

“I’m sure that people from other agencies have personal connections with their doctors, but I can say that my experience with Global has been enormously satisfying, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” says Dr. Stiller.

If a problem does come up, Dr. Stiller, like all of our doctors, can text the team personally to get any issue resolved. Additionally, we take time to put the extra effort into all of the little details, to prevent problems and keep our physicians satisfied.

“I value my relationships with Global,” Dr. Stiller says. “‘Warm personalities’ doesn’t even begin to touch what I feel about them. These are wonderful people that I can call friends. We care about each other.”

Interested in learning about how locum tenens can help you soar? Click the button below to browse our current openings, or give us a call at 866.858.6269.

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Topics: Locum Tenens, work life balance, Washington, travel, Family

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

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

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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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