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How locum tenens helped one doctor achieve her dream

Dr, Long smiling at camera

For many doctors, it isn’t good enough to just help those in their own backyard, they want to extend that help to people who less fortunate around the world. One of those physicians is Dr. Julie Long, a pediatric surgeon who has treated everything from appendicitis to hernias in countries spanning from South America to Africa.

 “We have so many resources here in this country and people take that for granted,” Dr. Long says. “The rest of the world is getting there and coming along.”

Dr. Long loves the opportunity to perform surgeries in third-world communities and teach people how to care for their health challenges. It has long been a dream of hers, and for many years she wasn’t sure it would come true. She credits locum tenens that it did.

A more flexible medical career

Dr. Long performs surgery

For many years, Dr. Long was a slave to her schedule as a full-time surgeon. “I was working a lot and it was just work, work, work, work, work.” She needed a solution that would release her from the constraints of a regular work schedule so she could leave the country for extended periods of time to participate in mission trips.

The first doctor she met who practiced locum tenens was the father of one of her colleagues. He had worked as a general surgeon in a private practice his whole career, but as he neared retirement, he wanted to slow down. He wasn’t ready to quit, so locum tenens became the ideal option for a more flexible medical career. His example got the wheels turning in Dr. Long’s mind. “He showed me there were good surgeons that were doing locums and there was a need out there. I thought, ‘Great. I want to try that. I want some more flexibility in my life.’”

The right locums partner

Her next step was deciding which locum tenens company to use. It was important to her to be able to trust the people who would be helping her transition and travel to new assignments. She felt an immediate connection with her Weatherby recruiter, Karla, and that confidence grew when she was able to meet additional Weatherby staff members during a visit to Florida. “I already knew the organization had a great reputation,” she says. “I thought, ‘I don’t need to look further.’ I think trust is essential, and I feel like I’m being taken care of.”

Dr. Long has enjoyed each locums assignment Weatherby has sent her on. So much so that she wishes she had started locum tenens earlier in her career. She’s found she does the same work, but in a way that works better with her lifestyle.

“Locum tenens doctors are providing the same care and the same services that the doctors that work there full-time are, so it’s not like we’re place savers,” she said. “It’s really a legitimate career path for any point in peoples’ careers. It just depends on what their other life choices are.”

Making time to serve others

Dr. Long with a friend

For Dr. Long, her dream was to make time between work to serve people in other countries through those mission trips. “Because of my job, I wasn’t ever sure that I would get to go on even one mission trip,” she said. “Locum tenens really gives me flexibility. I’ve been really happy to have been able to do this.”

People all over the world have been happy she’s been able to do this as well. In fact, she was nominated for the Weatherby Healthcare 2019 Locum Tenens of the Year award for her passion for the job, the quality of care she provides, and her service to the community. It’s not surprising she received this recognition. Dr. Long’s work as a locum tenens surgeon has helped her to become more skilled, work with a large spectrum of doctors, and have the opportunity to exercise compassionate service to communities across the globe.

To learn more about how locum tenens can help you achieve your career goals, call us at 954.343.3050 to speak to a consultant or view today’s locum tenens job opportunities.

About the author

Melinda Fox

Melinda Fox

Melinda Fox is a writer and content strategist who’s created content for clients like NBC and the United Nations. When she’s not getting caught up on her personal journal writing, Melinda loves listening to podcasts and trying new things.

5 Comments

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  • Dr. Long is truly an amazing surgeon and Such wonderful person. It was a pleasure to meet her and we are honored to have her working with us at Weatherby!!

  • I have known Julie since our days of training together in general surgery at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. The 2019 Locum Tenens of the Year Award could not go to a better person or surgeon. Congratulations, Julie!

  • Dr. Long is amazing! So happy to see her practicing medicine in a way that supports her professional and personal goals. What an inspiration.

  • The story about Dr Long is inspiring. I am a PA and I have a friend that has put in contact with Weatherby. She has given me great onsite on the locum tenement world. I just haven’t made up my mind to travel. I to do at least 2 mission trips a year. I know working for Weatherby would afford me the flexibility to do more mission trips when they would become available. Thank you Dr Long for your commitment to doing missions and your great perspective on being a locum tenement. You have given lots to think about. Keep serving.


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