As a medical resident with five young children, Dr. Larry Daugherty was struggling to make ends meet. A friend introduced the radiation oncologist to locum tenens jobs with Weatherby Healthcare near the end of his residency, and the decision had a big impact on his career.
Here are five things Dr. Daugherty learned from working locum tenens — and now hiring these physicians for temporary assignments:
Locum tenens jobs can provide invaluable work experience
“Locums helped me make ends meet as a resident and pay off some bills. It became extremely valuable because I was able to see the diversity of different practices and find out what I liked and didn’t like,” Dr. Daugherty recalls. “When it came time for me to make a job transition, I was armed with a lot more information. I’d seen many different medical records, technologies in radiation oncology and ways of running offices.”
Living in Philadelphia, Penn., as a resident was expensive for a family of seven. Dr. Daugherty was fortunate to take locum tenens jobs within the city and two hours away in Hershey to help pay off student loans while still gaining experience.
Locum tenens jobs can offer your family paid vacations
“Locum tenens became a really positive experience for my family when I was a resident. I intentionally planned a two- or three-month period to work locum tenens because to us it was kind of a paid vacation,” Dr. Daugherty says. “We wanted to go to the outer banks of North Carolina, so we rented a little beach house in Elizabeth City and I worked there. We created some fond memories for our family.”
Dr. Daugherty also took shorter locum tenens assignments in Florida and brought his family along for the adventure.
Locum tenens physicians provide high-quality care for patients
Now the director of radiation oncology at a multidisciplinary cancer center in Anchorage, Alaska, Dr. Daugherty hires locum tenens doctors to fill in for him when he takes vacation.
“There’s a stereotype among some providers that locum physicians might be of a lesser quality than those who have a full-time job — or that you’re kind of pulling from the bottom of the barrel, so to speak. That hasn’t been my experience,” Dr. Daugherty expresses. “I felt like I was a great locum tenens physician myself and wanted to do a high-quality job, and I’ve had a similar caliber of people cover for me. The vast majority of the time, I’m very impressed with the talent and the quality of the locum tenens providers I hire.”
Locum tenens agencies provide physicians that meet your needs
“I have an established relationship with Weatherby Healthcare to find good talent and good physicians to cover me for radiation oncology,” Dr. Daugherty says. “They send me physicians who would be available for those dates and CVs to review. I can talk to those providers if needed, but Weatherby has enabled me to have a predictable and reliable pool of physicians I like and trust.”
He notes that it isn’t difficult to find doctors willing to take temporary assignments in Alaska. Dr. Daugherty now has three or four physicians to choose from when he’ll be away from the office.
Locum tenens physicians can help you achieve better balance between work and home life
“I see people every day facing the end of their lives, sometimes with regret for things they didn’t do. That’s impacted me, and I’ve become almost hyper-obsessive about maximizing every single day,” Dr. Daugherty says. “My goals have become even bigger, and the things I do with my spare time tend to be big.”
Those hobbies include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with his son, daughter and wife, competing in the Iditarod, and camping with his son’s scout troop in 20-degrees-below-zero weather. He is also passionate about his nonprofit, Radiating Hope, which aims to improve radiation oncology care around the world.
“I’ve been fortunate to have some unique and special adventures mingled with nonprofit work. Climbing a mountain for a cause and raising money to improve cancer care in a developing country is rewarding,” Dr. Daugherty says. “For me, hobbies take time but it’s important time. It helps me to come back better in whatever role I’m in, whether it’s a better doctor, a better husband, or a better father. It’s important to have good, quality coverage options when I turn my practice over to another physician even for a week — and I’ve found peace of mind with physicians from Weatherby Healthcare.”
Check out this video to learn more about Dr. Daugherty’s experiences with locum tenens!