Location of Locum Assignment(s)
Montana and Alaska
Briefly describe your pre-medical and/or pre-locum work experience
I am originally from a small community (population 250) in British Columbia, Canada. I moved to Texas in the early 90s and attended university, got married, and raised a family. According to my wife and daughters, I am a workaholic; I worked as an ER nurse for 7 years before graduating as an NP. Since then, I have worked for 19 years in various emergency rooms in Northcentral Texas. In addition to that, I worked a 4-year stint in a primary care/occupational health clinic. For the last 12 years, I have been the lead advanced practice provider working in a busy emergency department juggling admin duties and clinical shifts.
What drew you to locum tenens work?
I always knew that someday I wanted to do locum work in small communities. I liked the idea of traveling to remote parts of the country and seeing new places. Not to mention the pace was significantly slower than what I’m currently experiencing. According to my wife and daughters, it was either do something like this or there would be an intervention meeting taking place.
I chose to work with WMS because of the locations they focus on serving. Also, I had a conversation with a colleague of mine, David Warren, NP, who has been working for WMS for several years. He had great things to say about the company and the experiences that he’s had while on assignment in Alaska. I felt like WMS would be a good fit for me, so I applied.
What have you enjoyed most about your locum tenens experiences?
I have been on multiple assignments in Montana, with several of them more than once. Each assignment has its own challenges, but the thing I enjoy most is meeting the people, both the staff and the patients. The patients are so appreciative of the care you are providing, and the staff is so welcoming and willing to help you succeed.
What surprised you the most about your locum tenens experiences?
I think that the most surprising thing about locum work in remote locations is how appreciative the patients are, even for the small things that you do for them. Unlike most busy departments I have worked in, the patients in these rural critical access hospitals understand that there are limitations as to what can and cannot be done. They are just glad that you are willing to come and help them.
How has your experience been with WMS?
I have enjoyed every experience that I have had while working with WMS. I feel the assignments are described well beforehand, so you know what you are getting into. I have not experienced any bait and switch tactics as I have had with some other companies I looked into working for.
What stands out to you about the communities and cultures you have interacted with as a locum tenens provider?
So far, I have only worked in rural Montana, which is predominately a ranching culture, and the communities have been small. I enjoy taking walks early in the mornings before shifts and after shifts in the early evenings, giving me the opportunities to experience the small towns. Sometimes I get to see local deer eating on the lawns. The locals are always willing to wave and say, “good morning or good evening.” I am looking forward to my upcoming assignments in Alaska, as I am interested in experiencing cultures in the far Northwest.
What advice do you have for prospective locum tenens providers?
I think the best advice is to be flexible, and personable. This will go a long way to smooth out any hiccups that might arise while being on assignment. If you are on the fence about doing locum work, just remember you do not have to quit your job to do an assignment. I have maintained my full-time job; I just cut down to the minimum shifts so that I have time to take an assignment. WMS works with you to get you the assignments that work for you.
What’s the most interesting thing that you learned while on assignment?
From a provider standpoint, I think it’s being the emergency room provider and hospitalist at the same time. If I admit someone from the ED to the hospital, there is no pushback from the hospitalist! If there is, then we have bigger problems.