Locums for a Small World Blog

Locums in Guam: Doctor goes on adventure of a lifetime

Posted by Kari Redfield

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Dr. Cheri McCue has always loved traveling. Still, she didn’t expect to one day get on a plane and end up living in Guam for several months.

 “I thought: How did I get here? Did I just travel 22 hours,” she recalls, laughing.

Her locum tenens assignment, planned for three months but extended by mutual agreement, ended up being the experience of a lifetime. It was something that had always been on her bucket list, and it fit right in with her desire to live life with “piss and vinegar.”

Time for a change
Dr. McCue decided to take on a locums assignment because she felt burned out, and negotiated a leave of absence from her medical practice.

“I was running 90 miles per hour and felt like a squirrel in traffic. I wanted to recharge my batteries after being so busy,” she explains.

Guam gave her the break she needed to recover. “Suddenly, in Guam,” she says, “I had all of this extra time because I was away from all my responsibilities at home. What I learned working in locums, was when you closed the computer for the day, you were done and went home and were free.”

This meant she could run on the beach and go swimming before work every day. It also meant that she was able to thoroughly explore the island. Guam’s beaches are known for their exquisite beauty, and each one is different — some lined with lava rocks, some with coconut or palm trees, some in coves. All are remarkable.

 “Guam is gorgeous,” Dr. McCue says. “I saw lagoons, stunning views; it was absolutely stunning.”

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An adventure indeed!
“Being 8,700 miles from home on an island with a 35-mile circumference alone and away from my partner, family, and friends, and having two hurricanes pass by — that was adventurous!” she says. “It wasn’t scary, but was an experience.”

Even grocery shopping meant adventure. “The food was brought in from all over the world, mostly from all over Asia. So sometimes you didn’t know what the label said, because it was in a foreign language, so you guessed and took a chance,” she says.

Practicing medicine provided new challenges and adventures, too. Dr. McCue worked in the urgent care in Guam. “I quickly found where my strengths were because of my extensive background in medicine and family practice. I did some pediatrics, which I hadn’t done for years. You find as a locums that your memories come back and your skillset improves very quickly,” she explains.

For someone like Dr. McCue that finds practicing medicine and learning new things thrilling, it was a lot of fun.

She also got to see how other doctors approached the same types of cases. “Everyone doing the job comes from a different background, a different specialty — but, the end result was always the same. Every day was a learning curve and getting to watch someone else and see their approach,” she adds.

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Vacation to Tokyo
At the end of her assignment, while she was already so close to Japan, Dr. McCue flew to Tokyo for a solo vacation. She loved it, though it required being comfortable in a foreign country without being able to speak or read the language.

“It’s so clean, and people were so polite. I would go through the subway turnstile incorrectly, and someone would escort me back,” Dr. McCue says. “I would ask in basic Japanese for directions, and people would point me in the right direction and show me on the map. The late Anthony Bourdain said that Tokyo has now replaced Hawaii for where to get your biggest bang per square foot as far as entertainment, and that’s true.”

She stayed at the downtown Marriott, walked miles every day, and took the subway. She saw a huge Buddha statue you could go inside, visited the Mikimoto Pearl Factory, rode a rickshaw, tasted all kinds of delicious inexpensive seafood and other foods from street vendors, ate in restaurants, and explored the iconic city. It’s an adventure she will always remember.

Give it a try
Dr. McCue encourages other physicians to take an international locums assignment. “Take a risk. Live each day with zest.”

Want to start your own international locum tenens adventure? Check out our current opportunities by clicking the button below, or give us a call at 1.800.760.3174.

Opportunities in the Pacific Islands

Topics: locum tenens lifestyle, Guam, burnout, Locum Tenens, Pacific Islands

Q&A: Taking a yearlong locums assignment in New Zealand

Posted by Kari Redfield

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There’s a lot to consider before packing up and moving overseas for a year. In the Q&A below, child & adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Jason Lambrese shares how he made a one-year locums assignment in New Zealand work for him and his husband as well as how happy he is that he could make this experience of a lifetime happen.

What drew you to New Zealand?
“I did six years of residency and fellowship, and the idea of taking an international locum tenens assignment as kind of a gap year between my fellowship and a more permanent job was really appealing. It was something a lot of people talked about. Everyone seemed to know a doctor who had done it.”

So, you went to New Zealand after your fellowship and before taking a permanent position?
“Yes. I saw it sort of like this fun year in between, and the timing was right. We were ready to leave Boston anyway, so we had sold our condo and packed.”

How hard was it to navigate the visa, credentialing, and licensing process?
“GMS took care of all of those logistics and other ones too. That was huge. That’s the benefit of going through a locum tenens company versus trying to get a job overseas on your own. I couldn’t have navigated the immigration website. With moving across the world, there are so many things you have to deal with and think about, but GMS took care of so much of it.”

Learn more about how Global Medical Staffing takes care of visas, licensing and credentialing.

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What were some of the highlights of your year in New Zealand?
“The people are so nice. The place is beautiful. There’s so much stuff to do. There’s such a variety of landscapes and activities. We did so much travel using my six weeks of PTO, and I love that I didn’t have to work the weekends, and we could travel then too. We could put the real life stuff on hold because there really wasn’t much real life stuff to do out there except work and pay a few bills. I had that freedom to adventure and to explore.”

What was the biggest challenge?
“Being so far away from home. We didn’t get any visitors over the year because people need a lot of time, money, and stamina to make the flight. We thought about getting a two-bedroom apartment because everyone was so excited. I’m glad we didn’t because the spare room never would’ve gotten used. Timing calls to communicate back home was also tough.”

What was it like practicing medicine in a country with universal health care?
“I liked the work and being in a community clinic and that we were serving a more marginalized population. I feel like I was doing more good than maybe I would have otherwise and that specialized skills are used more effectively.”

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What did you like the most?
“The people were great, and the place was beautiful! Learning a new way to practice medicine was fascinating. That experience of being in a whole new place and a whole new system — I needed that change.”

What would you say to other doctors considering international locum tenens?
“Go! For many of us, it might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

See also:

Learn more about international locums from doctors who have gone.
How to rent out your home while on international locums.
How locums docs get paid.

Want to start your own international locum tenens adventure? Check out our current opportunities by clicking the button below, or give us a call at 1.800.760.3174. We're always here to answer questions.
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Topics: Locum Tenens, travel, New Zealand, Health systems, work life balance

Physicians from Global Medical Staffing make a difference in Haiti

Posted by Kari Redfield

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This past November, Dr. Maria Chansky went on her fourth medical mission, this time to Haiti. The Haiti mission was made possible through a generous grant from the Making a Difference Foundation in partnership with International Medical Relief, enabling five physicians and several support staff members to travel to and within Haiti for eight days, giving of their time and skills to those most in need of medical and dental care.

Every day, the team set up at a different site in order to treat as many people as possible.

“We had to figure out how to use the site effectively, had to figure out where the dentists were going to be, where the primary care providers were going to be, where the patient education was going to be, where the pharmacy was going to be,” says Dr. Chansky. “Really, we had to work together to organize, lay things out, and move benches and equipment.”

Dr. Chansky says the whole team stepped up wonderfully, making the logistics and delivery of care a smooth process that benefited a lot of Haitians.
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Life in Haiti
Even though Dr. Chanksy has seen other places devastated by natural disasters, one thing that struck her about Haiti was how destroyed parts of it still are from the 2010 earthquake.

“There are almost like two Haitis,” says Dr. Chansky. “There’s the group of people in Haiti who still have places to live and still have work, but then there are people whose neighborhoods were completely destroyed by the earthquake — and they’re living in refugee camps, and their neighborhoods haven’t been rebuilt. It’s been eight years and they still have nothing. It seems like the people who were really devastated by the earthquake, their situation hasn’t really changed or improved much, which is heartbreaking.”

Dr. Chansky adds: “The incredibly huge line of patients who were waiting to be seen spoke to the importance of what we were doing.”
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Putting medical skills to good use
Dr. Chansky says that she is drawn to these missions in order to give back to those most in need.

“I like working with the disenfranchised populations, learning about them, seeing what life is like in different places, and serving people who need my services. I really enjoy working with people and getting to know them and doing something that hopefully makes a difference in their life,” she explains. “From a purely selfish point of view, I get to travel to places that perhaps I wouldn’t go to otherwise and meet people who I wouldn’t otherwise meet, and I really enjoy that.”

This desire to help those who most need medical care is part of why Dr. Chansky has worked as a locum tenens physician at various times throughout her 21-year career. She worked three years in New Zealand, plus a couple years of full-time locum tenens in the continental U.S.

“The clinics that are hiring locums are the clinics that are probably in the greatest need, and so I’m filling the role and providing a service,” she explains.

She also likes locums because she enjoys traveling and meeting people. The third thing she likes about locum tenens is the flexibility.

“I have a lot of flexibility as far as where I am and when, so if my husband’s parents or my parents had some kind of emergency I could get locums work close to them,” Dr. Chansky explains.

She says that flexibility also meant that when she was working locums, she could be in a certain place at a certain time of the year to experience something unique to that area — or to take time off for a holiday or family gathering. Locums also allowed her to set her own schedule, decide where she wanted to work, and work fewer hours than a long-term position.

Dr. Chansky says that she encourages other physicians to consider locums if they are looking for more flexibility, travel opportunities, and want to use their medical skills where they are most needed.

She also encourages physicians to sign up for a medical mission to see life through others’ eyes and give back.

Inspired to make a difference through a medical mission? The Making a Difference Foundation partners with world-class nonprofits to provide physicians the opportunity to participate in meaningful medical missions to make a difference around the globe. Visit them to learn more about medical mission opportunities.

Topics: Locum Tenens, travel, giving back, Making a Difference Foundation, Medical mission, Haiti, Caribbean

Did you know: You get generous amounts of PTO during international locums

Posted by Kari Redfield

Learn to scuba dive, taste the best food in Tokyo, explore the world’s most famous glowworm caves… It sounds like a trip of the lifetime, doesn’t it? These are how many physicians adventure while on an international locum tenens assignment.

When you take on an assignment in an international location, you not only get immersed in that area’s culture, but you also benefit from their approach to vacation time — which is often very generous. During that PTO, you can explore the beaches right near where you work and live and fly for cheap to other nearby destinations.

Here’s just how much vacation time our physicians typically receive while on assignment: 

  • New Zealand: 30 days of PTO for a 12-month assignment, sometimes more.
  • Australia: Six weeks of PTO for a year assignment.
  • Canada: Four to six weeks is the norm, depending on the assignment.
  • Bermuda: Anything longer than a three-month assignment comes with nine days of PTO a year.
  • Saipan: Eight hours of PTO per pay period and four hours of sick leave per pay period.
  • Guam: Longer assignments can accrue PTO, especially around the holidays. In the shorter (three months assignments), physicians can take off pre-approved by the client with no compensation or trade shifts. If the schedule is one-week on/one week off, physicians travel extensively on their weeks off. 

Additionally, most physicians take advantage of being on the other side of the world and add on exploration before and after their assignment, too. While you’re already in these places, nearby destinations are a few hours away by plane, with cheap airfare.

Here’s how four physicians used their PTO while on their international assignment:

Dr. Lambrese
While on a one-year assignment in New Zealand, Dr. Jason Lambrese put his six weeks of PTO to adventurous use. He and his husband, Andy, who accompanied him on the trip, explored the town of Wellington, which Dr. Lambrese describes as, “a very cool city with a hipster vibe with great restaurants.” They also explored the picturesque South Islands, the famous glowworm caves, Stuart Island/ Rakiura with its unique wildlife (like albatross, kiwi, and yellow-eyed penguin), and Auckland where his assignment was — among other places.

“We’ve seen more of New Zealand than most New Zealanders,” says Dr. Lambrese. “It’s really easy to get around. We signed up for alerts about cheap fare, and some plane tickets are as low as $39. It’s nice to have those options, particularly to do weekend trips.”

The couple also traveled for two weeks in Australia, including to the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney, and Melbourne.

“That part of the world is beautiful,” says Dr. Lambrese. “Learning a new way to practice medicine was fascinating. That experience of being in a whole new place and a whole new system was amazing. I needed that change. I can’t wait to go back and visit.”

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Dr. McCue
While in Guam, Dr. Cheri McCue worked a typical 40-hour week in the urgent care. Working 40 hours felt relaxing, she says, compared to a typical position in the U.S.

“Suddenly in Guam, I had all this extra time because I was away from the responsibilities of home, like home maintenance and calling a contractor. What I learned working locums is that when you closed the computer for the day, you were done and went home and were truly free,” she says.

There were no charts to finish after hours, no meetings, no admin tasks. She could relax, recharge, and explore all over the island, which she did, including to many of Guam’s iconic lagoons and numerous beaches.

After her assignment, she took her first solo vacation ever to Tokyo. “I had never taken a subway in my life, so I had to figure it out.”

Despite the language barrier, she visited the famous shopping area of Tokyo, Buddha statues big enough to go inside of, the intersection where one million people cross a day, the famous Mikimoto Pearl factory — eight floors of top jewelry — and fish markets. Additionally, she also rode in a rickshaw, because where else would she get the opportunity again? In addition to taking the subway, she also walked about eight miles a day in order to truly take in the sights.

“Tokyo has now replaced Hawaii as the place to go for the biggest bang of entertainment per square foot,” she says.

She recommends Tokyo to anyone who can find a way to go.

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Dr. Pruhs
Dr. Zach Pruhs brought his family along for his assignment in Guam and says that the entire experience of being in Guam and exploring the island on the weekends and traveling to other parts of Asia on vacations is something most people only dream of — and he and his family are doing it. They planned a trip to explore Hong Kong over Christmas and other destinations before coming back to the U.S. mainland.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, they flew to South Korea for five days.

“It was a great adventure, a lot of fun,” he says. “We saw a lot of sights, like the DMZ tour where we could look into North Korea. The museums were topnotch. The Royal Palace in downtown Seoul is really something. My daughter got to try on a traditional Korean dress, and my son got to cook some traditional BBQ while there. It was really amazing.”

His advice to others doing international locums: “You’ve got to take advantage of going to other parts of Asia when you’re on that side of the world.”

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Dr. Russell
While on a three-month assignment in Guam, Dr. Hortense Russell learned to scuba dive.

“The price is reasonable. I lived and worked five minutes from the beach. It was the best thing ever to learn scuba diving while in Guam,” she says. “And the fresh caught fish! Oh, my gosh! I miss that.”

She went to El Nido in the Philippines to scuba dive and describes the experience as just “amazing.”

After the assignment, Dr. Russell traveled to Bangkok, Thailand, and spent five days there.

“It was beautiful. I had not been to Asia before. I am in awe at how good the food was, how wonderful the people were, the massages, how warm and nice it was all the time,” she says.

She also visited Saipan, which is a one-hour flight from Guam, and spent five days in Tokyo and met up with friends to explore the city and Japanese culture.

“The entire adventure was such a wonderful experience. I dream about going back so I may visit other parts of Asia like Bali, China, and Hong Kong. With international locums, you can explore and have experiences you would never have if didn’t step foot outside of the U.S.,” she says.

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Give it a go!
Interested in learning more about how locum tenens can allow you to travel the world? 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: Locum Tenens, work life balance, travel, travel tips, holiday travel, Pacific Islands, Asia, New Zealand, Australia, PTO

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.

Search our current physician opportunities

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

How this hospitalist used locum tenens to experience an adventure of a lifetime

Posted by Kari Redfield

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Dr. Raymattie Singh says that when her hospitalist contract was ending in Denver, Colorado, she really began thinking about her life. She was in something of an existential crisis. “I had gotten more and more depressed, and then, incidentally got an email from Global Medical Staffing about practicing medicine in the Pacific Islands. I started reading about GMS and called them.”

Since then, she has taken two locum tenens assignments and plans to keep doing locums instead of signing a long-term contract.

“I worked hard most of my life to attain the dream I was told I had to have, and I did,” she explains. “The five-bedroom house, fancy cars, diamond jewelry... I had it all. But the more things I procured, the more I felt I was missing. I was tired of the agonizing repetition of every day.”

Locums has allowed her to soar. “When I started traveling to strange places while working as a physician, I was unbelievably happy. Creating bonds of lifelong friendships with people from all walks of life rejuvenated my soul.”

A new way of living

Dr. Singh’s first assignment was in Guam. She loved the way it challenged her.

“It was my first time alone. I have tons of friends, and in Guam, I had to start from nothing and build friendships from scratch. I met really amazing people, including other doctors who travel all over the world.”

Now, she’s on assignment in Bermuda. Among her favorite things about the island are the weather and the beaches. “It’s subtropical, not humid and not cold.”

Of the beaches, she says, “I’ve never seen such pretty beaches with pink sand and turquoise water.”

 
 
 
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INSTAGRAM TAKEOVER DAY 4: The sand in Bermuda is actually pink! The south shore of Bermuda is lined with coral reefs, which are home to red foraminifera: the miniscule marine organisms behind the stunningly blush beaches. The foraminifera are neither plants nor animals. Instead, these little creatures are classified as protists, single-celled organisms that basically don't fit into any other category. The single-celled foraminifera live in shells made of calcium carbonate with a red color. When the foraminifera die, their shells collect on the ocean floor and get washed to shore by the continuous tide. The red hue gets exposed to the sun and mixes with the sand, thus Bermuda's beaches take on their famous pink shade. #bermuda #pinksandbeach #locums #locumslife #locumtenens #physician #doctor #travel #traveldoc #globalmedicalstaffing

A post shared by Global Medical Staffing (@globalmedstaffing) on

She also loves Bermuda’s people, who, she says, are laid back, calm, and appreciative. “This is lost in the U.S. where people feel entitled. I feel like I’m a doctor here, with people looking up to me for advice. In the U.S., I feel like I’m just another person.”

Traveling and meeting people
While in Guam, she visited Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Australia. While in Bermuda, she has been to China so far, and has also explored all around the island.

She says that it has been easy to meet locals, and people remember who she is.

“The locals are so friendly. Even the taxi drivers will show you around. There are 60,000 people, and I guess they all know each other,” she says with a laugh. “Then, there are two to three cruise ships that come in every week, and the people want to chat about how you got to Bermuda and what your life in Bermuda is like.”

To develop friendships, she says, “I go to restaurants, bars, farmers markets, festivals, gumbo feasts, and then I start making friends quickly on the job because I’m very chatty. I go out with the nurses and other doctors. I ask what they do for fun and what’s going on in town that day. I find out where I can get fresh food, fresh chicken, fresh eggs. The union secretary at the hospital, the porters, and other locals will all tell you where to go to get the local food right from the farm.”

For making friends, it does help, she adds, that she’s a chatty extrovert. “My personality makes it easier to ease into locums and new jobs.”

Differences in medicine
While Guam’s healthcare system is pretty similar to the mainland U.S., she says that Bermuda has been a somewhat-challenging assignment work-wise, as the healthcare system is a bit different from the U.S.

Right now, Bermuda doesn’t use electronic medical records; although, the goal is to change to EMR. Another difference is that doctors themselves do much of the hands-on work, such as starting IVs.

She does appreciate how much caring there is in the Bermuda healthcare system. “I feel like people think that medicine is about tests and medicine, but patients are more concerned about my empathy and me taking the time to talk to them and listen to them.”

In Bermuda, she has time to provide that kind of care.

Advice for other locum tenens doctors
“I think it takes a special doctor to do locums,” she says. “You have to have different dreams than typical U.S. expectations.”

She says that locums has allowed her to explore, to taste new foods, check out new places, meet many people, help people, and get out a rut of doing the same things over and over.

Her advice to doctors coming to Bermuda is to have an open mind.

“Go with the flow. You’ll learn the system soon enough. By the end of the first or second week, you’ll know whom you need to talk with to get things done. Then you’ll start enjoying yourself.”

She adds, “Be humble and be wiling to learn. There are different ways of practicing medicine.”

Check out Dr. Singh’s Instagram takeover for more great photos of her Bermuda adventures.

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 1.800.760.3174.

Search our current physician opportunities

Topics: Locum Tenens, work life balance, Bermuda

6 ways physicians can reduce burnout

Posted by Kari Redfield

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Knowing that physician burnout has increased significantly, locumstory.com recently conducted a survey of more than 3,700 physicians across specialties, work settings, and U.S. regions to better understand physicians’ perspectives about their professions.

Among the findings: 52% of surveyed physicians reported feeling burned out. 74% of physicians reported frequently seeing symptoms of burnout in other physicians.

As compared to the same study conducted in 2016, physicians in 2018 feel less overworked than two years ago. Yet, burnout, depression, and other issues still cause significant issues for more than half of physicians.

From the report:

  • 55% of physicians have less free time outside of work than when they first started their career.
  • 56% of physicians feel overworked.
  • More than half of physicians have considered leaving the profession early due to workload.
  • 46% of physicians said they were spending less time with patients than they used to.
  • 53% of physicians considered leaving their profession within the past few years.
  • 52% of physicians say that burnout has affected their job performance.

Some of the biggest pain points for physicians considering quitting medicine early are:

  • 69% said they spend too much time dealing with bureaucracy and administrative paperwork.
  • 69% said they feel overworked and stressed.
  • 64% said they spend too much time entering data into electronic health records (EHRs).
  • 55% said they are unable to spend enough time with family.

 Signs of burnout
Common burnout symptoms include irritability, apathy, anxiety, anger, insomnia, increased illness, and loss of appetite. Another sign, which 54% of physicians who self-report burnout also experience, is chronic fatigue. Nearly half of physicians who report burnout also complain of impaired memory and attention.

37% of those who felt burnout also reported depression, and suicidal ideation (according to the survey, 6% have contemplated suicide because of their profession).

If you feel depressed, seek treatment. If you feel suicidal, call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 — and seek treatment immediately.

If you have symptoms of burnout, recognize what is going on, and begin looking into possible long-term solutions, as discussed below.

Effects on career, job, and life

In addition to the direct personal costs of burnout on health, burnout affects almost all aspects of a physician’s life. Some areas include job satisfaction, relationships with coworkers, personal time, and patient care.

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Solutions
Physicians are using the following methods to reduce burnout:

  1. Regular exercise.
  2. Taking a vacation and/or spending more time with family.
  3. Turning off their phone when not at work or on call.
  4. Bringing in locum tenens physicians to help cover staff shortages and prevent burnout. We’re seeing this trend more and more among physicians who own their own practices; they’re planning for this from the get-go.
  5. Turning to locum tenens, either by taking an international assignment between jobs to refresh, or as a permanent way to take charge of their career, reduce how much time is spent on paperwork and increase time spent with patients, and to take control of their schedule, health, and career.
  6. Using locum tenens for a service mission to refocus on providing outstanding medical care where it’s most needed.

“We’re seeing an uptick in numbers of doctors wanting to go on a medical mission for six months or even longer in order to give back to underserved communities, and they’re using locum tenens to do so and to reset after feeling burned out,” explains Matt Richards, Global Medical Staffing’s National Accounts Executive. Read one physician’s story.

How physicians are using locums to combat burnout
Many physicians have chosen to work locum tenens assignments between jobs or have even chosen full-time locum tenens in order to reduce burnout and spend more time with family. Here are just a few of their stories:

Even though physician burnout has gone down as compared to the 2016 survey, it’s alarming that more than half of physicians report feeling burned out, and that nearly three-quarters see burnout among their colleagues. Be honest with yourself if you are burned out, then put these six steps to work to help alleviate the feeling.

Interested in learning more about how locum tenens can help you take charge of your career and alleviate burnout? 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: Locum Tenens, physician burnout, burnout, work life balance

4 fall medical conventions you don't want to miss

Posted by Kari Redfield

 

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Ready to take charge of your destiny, work less, give back to the community, go on an adventure, and regain work/life balance? We would love to chat with you about how locum tenens helps our doctors do all of that and more. This fall, visit us at a medical conference. Stop by our booth to meet some of our team — and for a chance to win a pair of Bose studio headphones.

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ACEP Scientific Assembly 2018
Thousands of emergency medicine professionals gather annually to attend ACEP's flagship event. ACEP calls the conference an “immersive experience that goes beyond what typical medical conferences offer, providing the single most comprehensive consortium that brings together education, networking, policy development, and new technology.” Network with others, improve your medical skills, fulfill your CME credits, and get inspired by the keynote from Roy Spence, founder of GSD&M Advertising, who will talk about how to live a purpose-filled life.

Oct. 1-3
San Diego, California
Our Booth: #1328
San Diego Convention Center

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American Osteopathic Association OMED 2018
This premier conference for osteopaths features keynote speakers Nicholas J. Webb, health care innovator and futurist, and Peter B. Bach, MD, MAPP, healthcare policy expert, who has been awarded more than 45 patents for breakthrough technologies. They’ll discuss disruptive innovators changing healthcare. You’ll also get to attend hands-on CME sessions, get to sit in on Public Health Track and Research Focus Track sessions, network with others, and much more. Watch the video to learn more.

Oct. 6-8
San Diego, California
Our Booth: #302
San Diego Convention Center

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The AAFP Family Medicine Experience (FMX)
This is the AAFP’s largest annual event and inspires, educates, and helps to motivate family physicians to continue providing the best patient and community care. Connect with other practitioners and get up to a year’s worth of CME credits dedicated completely to helping you do your job better for your patients. You’ll also have the opportunity to take in keynote speakers:

  • Zubin Damania, MD (aka ZDoggMD) — internist, rapper, and comedian — onHealthcare, Remixed”
  • Frank J. Domino, MD, discussing Top Ten Updates in Evidence-Based Medicine”
  • “Responding to the Opioid Crisis: Perspectives from Family Physicians” featuring several notable physicians

Oct. 10-12
New Orleans, Louisiana
Our Booth: #1318
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

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Los Angeles CareerMD Expo
Feeling burned out? Want to take control of your own destiny? Come talk to use at the Los Angeles CareerMD Expo and learn about part-time travel opportunities, full-time options, and overseas adventures.

Nov. 17, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Los Angeles, California
Beverly Hills Marriott

We hope to see you soon!
For more info about upcoming conferences, click here.

Topics: Locum Tenens, Conferences, Conventions, San Diego, Los Angeles, New Orleans

Psychiatrist uses locum tenens to help fulfill his mission of serving others

Posted by Kari Redfield

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Not all locum tenens physicians work locums full time; some work occasional locums shifts in order to earn extra money, to travel, or, like Dr. Chad Koyanagi, as a way to give back to the community. For psychiatrist Dr. Koyanagi, helping people is his mission, and he uses his expertise, compassion, and valuable skills and training to treat people in Hawaii with severe mental illnesses, including people living on the street.

Dr. Koyanagi works three part-time jobs, plus a locum tenens shift once a month at a hospital in Kona on the island of Hawaii. His locum tenens role fits into his mission of serving others, as he takes on a difficult-to-fill shift, helping people get the right treatment so they’re able to live productive lives.

His main job is for the State of Hawaii Medicaid office. He also works at a private hospital in the psychiatric unit, helping people in all types of severe mental health crises. “Given the right effectiveness of the hospitalization, they would never need to come back to the hospital,” he explains.

He also works with the Institute for Human Services (IHS) to do street medicine outreach to help people with mental illness living on the streets. “There are so many homeless people in paradise,” says Dr. Koyanagi. “Honolulu has the worst homeless problem in the entire nation.”

He says that all his roles work together. “By doing administrative and clinical and advocacy work for this population, I feel like all of the jobs are related and complement each other,” he says. “I have a pretty broad scope of how the system works for some people — and how it doesn’t work for others.”

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Inspired to help others

After growing up in the Salt Lake area on the island of Oahu, Dr. Koyanagi went to Harvard University for his undergraduate degree, and that’s when he decided to become a physician. He moved back to Hawaii to complete his medical degree from the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii. He chose psychiatry in order to treat the entire person.

“My interest was in doing something related to serving the whole individual and not just a body part. I felt the need to help someone in a larger way, including their social circumstances, upbringing, and economic condition,” he explains.

After residency, he took a job at Safe Haven, a residential home for the homeless mentally ill. That’s when he made the decision to focus on a career path that enabled him to help those most in need.

“The providers were such amazing people. They spent all of their energy and compassion helping the most marginalized people in our community — and that was so inspiring to me.”

He also found the work rewarding, to see someone mentally ill and chronically homeless get treatment, housing, and get better. “It’s what drives me.”

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How locum tenens allows him to fill a need

Before learning about Global Medical Staffing, Dr. Koyanagi had never considered doing any locum tenens work. But then in August 2017 he heard about a hard-to-fill shift on the psychiatric unit in a hospital in Kona. He has worked there one weekend a month ever since. By taking the shift, he is helping fill a need and providing treatment to people who really need it.

“One of the things that was appealing about this opportunity is that I’ve always felt the need to serve my community and help address some of the rural shortage areas,” he explains.

His work in Kona, like at the other psychiatric hospital, makes a difference. “I try very hard to make sure that a person’s first encounter with the system is productive. I try to go the extra mile — I make sure to engage the family as much as possible and make the clinical care as effective as it can be, and most importantly, make sure the person has referrals to all the possible resources in the community that could be helpful to them and their families. The consequence of a person not getting what they need is that often, five to 10 years down the road, the person unfortunately becomes homeless,” says Dr. Koyanagi.

Lindsay Lyons, Global Medical Staffing physician representative, adds: “We’re so lucky to work with Dr. Koyanagi. He’s great, and such a mentor for other physicians. People know who he is, and he’s highly regarded on the island.”

Making a difference

According to a newspaper article about the IHS street medicine program, last year, Dr. Koyanagi and his team succeeded in treating 20 homeless people who agreed to accept care on an outpatient basis. The treatment uses monthly injections of Invega Sustenna, meant to stabilize people suffering from schizophrenia.

“A good example is Donna in ‘Prescribing Hope’ [IHS documentary],” says Dr. Koyanagi. “She had been gravely disabled in our community for a couple of decades. She was able to get the help she needed and was able to be successfully placed in independent housing.”

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Just getting started

Dr. Koyanagi says, “Seeing people suffer so badly and not have housing, not have their sanity, not have healthcare and seeing them deteriorate year after year drives me to want to be useful in this field. And the amazing people I work with inspire me to be a better person and better psychiatrist.”

Another motivator: The right mental health treatment saves lives.

“Seeing people get better is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever been part of,” he shares. “There’s so much work to do. I’m just getting started.”

Learn more about Dr. Koyanagi’s work with the homeless:

Interested in putting your skills to work in underserved areas? Check out our open positions using the button below.
Search our current physician opportunities

Topics: Locum Tenens, benefits of locum tenens, Hawaii, Why I locum

Celebrate National Locum Tenens Week Aug. 13 – 17

Posted by Kari Redfield

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It’s National Locum Tenens Week! And we couldn’t be more excited to have this opportunity to thank our physicians for all they do to provide quality medical care to patients throughout the world.

Although locum tenens plays a vital role in our healthcare system, many still don’t know what it is. In Latin, locum tenens means “to take the place of someone temporarily.” In healthcare, the term refers to medical providers who work temporary assignments.

The concept of locums was started in the mid-1970s by two physicians from the University of Utah as a way to provide replacements for primary care physicians who were vacationing or doing CME. It turned into something much bigger and has become a crucial provider of much-needed medical care to rural areas across the country. Today, 94 percent of healthcare facilities use locum tenens to supplement their staffing, and more than 40,000 physicians work locum tenens assignments annually, impacting more than 20 million patients across the country.

Just last year, our Global Medical Staffing providers impacted more than 655,000 patients worldwide. With the physician shortage, these physicians are critical in ensuring patients continue to get the care they need now and in the future.

So, thank you to all our providers for making a difference to the patients you serve every day.

Topics: National Locum Tenens Week, Locum Tenens, benefits of locum tenens

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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