Meet Nikhil S.
Location of Locum Assignment(s)
Describe your pre-medical and/or pre-locum work experience.
I started my career as a Physician Assistant in the Emergency Department at the Cleveland Clinic. I spent three years there before deciding to explore rural medicine as a locum tenens.
What drew you to locum tenens work?
Time. The world of medicine has become so fast paced and profit-driven that it is hard keep your head above water, let alone keep sight of the values that drew us all into medicine in the first place. I realized early in my career that I needed to find a job that allowed me the time and space to connect with patients and provide care that I could be proud of. Rural medicine was always appealing to me for this reason, but as someone who has always lived in large cities, moving to a rural community was a daunting idea. Working as a locums tenens was the perfect fit and has been even more fulfilling than I imagined. I have time to care for patients while I am working and time to care for myself when I am not!
Why did you choose to work with Wilderness Medical Staffing?
I had a conversation with Tanner McCoon! From that point on the folks at WMS have been responsive, honest, and invested in my success. They know their sites and providers way better than any other locum agency I have encountered.
What have you enjoyed most about your locum tenens experiences?
I have enjoyed countless conversations with some incredibly interesting people. Alaska seems to cultivate and attract humans with many talents. People wear a lot of different hats in these small communities and they have wild stories to boot. The fresh seafood, 360 degrees of picturesque views, float planes, and hiking are close runner ups. SE Alaska feels like a different world compared to the places where I have spent most of my life!
How has your experience been with WMS?
An incredible journey!
What surprised you most about your locum tenens experiences?
The rural medical community in Alaska is small and synergetic. Experienced providers are willing to share their wisdom with you. Specialists are responsive and collaborative. My greatest hesitation going in was having to practice medicine in isolation. There are definitely challenges, but I have never felt alone in taking care of a patient.
What stands out to you about the communities and cultures you have interacted with as a locum tenens provider?
I have felt welcomed, appreciated and connected to the close knit Native community. People have been so eager to share their stories, traditions, food, and passions with me. When you go to work in a place like this, it really feels like you get to take care of a big family!
What advice do you have for prospective locum tenens providers?
Get comfortable with the fact that you will never know everything. Rural providers are asked to know and do a lot. Be confident in your problem solving skills, but humble enough to ask for help. Learn from the tough cases and research when you hit a road block. Patients appreciate a provider who goes out of their way to do the right thing for them.
Be curious and genuinely interested in everything and everyone. You will earn respect in return.
What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned while out on assignment?
High school basketball in SE Alaska is A BIG DEAL. The student athletes get to hop on a PLANE for every away game!
Is there anything else you would like to share?
This is your next great adventure. Take the leap!