Location of Locum Assignment(s)
Montana and Alaska
Briefly describe your pre-medical and/or pre-locum work experience
The first 20 years I spent working as an RN, 2 full-time jobs split between ER and every type of ICU/CCU ever made. This was in level one to three facilities, from Manhattan, NY where I went to graduate school at NYU, to moving to Florida and working in small facilities where we stabilized and shipped. I went back to school in 2001 and completed a second Master’s Degree and ran a family practice for almost eight years while continuing to work in the same ER.
What drew you to locum tenens work?
I was thinking of slowing down and it lasted about a week. Our last 3 kids were in college so my husband said “Go for it”.
It just looked like the type of work that would be fun. I’d never been out to this region so got my licenses and applied. Loved the people I interacted with and knew it would be a good fit.
What have you enjoyed most about your locum tenens experiences?
Meeting new people and the adventure. Nothing compares to throwing that backpack on your shoulders and walking thru the gates of the airport.
What surprised you the most about your locum tenens experiences?
I think the change from a strict, rigid, structured environment with times for everything you do, to a more laid-back approach, people-oriented, and basically the number of happy people I get to meet and work with. Each community has what they expect out of you. At an assignment in Interior Alaska, I was also the village veterinarian, as there was no one else. There was an actual trauma with an animal that I stabilized and flew out to Anchorage. I’m the dog lady there now!
How has your experience been with WMS?
It has been great. I work sites in Montana and Alaska. WMS is so responsive to a flexible schedule for me, always keeping me abreast of opportunities, and are always available for questions or problems. I’ve missed flights and connections for hurricanes and winter storms. I never worry because they are always available. They know what you’re looking for and match you up with proper assignments.
What stands out to you about the communities and cultures you have interacted with as a locum tenens provider?
Every site has a different culture that it takes a bit to envelop. In Montana, their strong family values, and friendliness. I knew nothing about cows, deer, or gazelle, but they taught me. You’re family when you are there. In Alaska, I fell in love with their culture, the community, and the absolute beauty. I visited another WMS site in Southeast, Alaska and their culture was so different and just as wonderful.
What advice do you have for prospective locum tenens providers?
Just do it. Believe in yourself. You’ll get thrown a few curveballs in the beginning, just like when you started medicine, but there is always a way to look up the answer. Montana has great backup with immediate contact with a physician on a large TV screen that will guide you thru anything you encounter. Working in the Bush of Alaska will be one of the most rewarding experiences, realizing how much you can do with your mind and your hands.
What’s the most interesting thing that you learned while on assignment?
How to drive an ambulance, the differences between regions, and how culture affects how you practice medicine.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I wish I had started sooner!