Briefly describe your pre-medical and/or pre-locum work experience
I was a flight nurse in SLC for 15 years prior to becoming a PA. Once I earned my Masters in PA my wife and I headed to work in the ED on a little island in the Pacific for 3 years. Returning to the states I tried a year in a local ICU and I did not enjoy the work so I decided to try locum work until I found something more permanent.
What drew you to locum tenens work?
After traveling to Saipan for work I realized that there are many opportunities to get paid to travel. Most of the places that I have worked I would never have bought a plane ticket to explore on my own, but I have enjoyed everyone and learned so much. It helps to understand different cultures and different ways people choose to live by living in the same community and interacting on a personal level.
Why did you choose WMS?
Again, while in Saipan I heard of a guy who worked in the ED prior to my arrival who moved to Alaska and started working with a locum company call WMS. So I emailed Mary Ellen Doty to try and do some locum work from Saipan but it never worked out. A few years later when I was unhappy at my employment, I called WMS and have been happily self-employed since. (I later worked with that “guy” who also worked in Saipan. We ended up working together at King Cove Clinic in Alaska. Neither one of us knew
each other but we somehow made the connection).
What have you enjoyed most about your locum tenens experiences?
Traveling to places that I would never have picked on the map and meeting the people who live there. I have learned so much about Native tribes in Alaska and about the vast difference in ecosystems within the same state. I have a much better understanding of the lives of farmers in Montana and how the work and crops outcome affects their wealth and health.
What surprised you the most about your locum tenens experiences?
Working in small villages or remote communities allows me to be medically creative because of the non-traditional living conditions, lack of resources and/or culture beliefs. This also allows me to sometimes think and act outside the box as a necessity for proper patient care.
How has your experience been with WMS?
WMS has really been great to work with. WMS has the personal touch as Mary Ellen has worked in many of these communities herself so she and her staff understands the bumps in the road or logistical problems that may occur along the way.
What advice do you have for prospective locum tenens providers?
Make sure you are flexible!
If you like variety and love to see new places this is the job for you. My wife has traveled with me to several locum locations and I know other providers who have taken their whole family to different locations to share the experience with loved ones as well. Also as a locum provider you get to decide how much or how little you want to work.