Physician

How locum tenens helped one doctor focus more on patient care and less on administration

Dr. Bhadriraju and family on assignment

Throughout his career, Srinivas Bhadriraju, MD, has always put his focus on people who could benefit most from his knowledge, experience, and expertise. Until a few years ago, he directed most of his professional attention toward students along with patients as a faculty member of Emory University School of Medicine, then Baylor College of Medicine.

“I enjoyed the idea of being at an academic institution and teaching younger doctors,” says Dr. Bhadriraju, who is certified in pulmonology, pulmonology sleep medicine, and critical care medicine.

That said, after 15 years of teaching and practicing in an academic environment, he yearned to step into another role through which he could serve people. Traditionally, career choices consist of establishing a solo private practice, joining a private group practice, or applying for a hospital staff position. However, Dr. Bhadriraju knew each of these options also would involve a heavy load of administrative duties, which very likely would intrude on the time he’d have available to focus on patient care. Unfortunately, none of those options really appealed to him.

“I felt that with the current environment, the traditional practice was not my cup of tea,” explains Dr. Bhadriraju. “I was more interested in the clinical aspects of medicine than the business of medicine and the responsibility of running a practice. At that point, I made the conscious decision that I’d like to practice medicine in places where there’s a need. I think that is a great motivator.”

So then the question became, how could he find a position that allowed him to devote his attention, skills, and focus to patient care and not paperwork? For Dr. Bhadriraju, the answer was locum tenens.

“I decided that this was a more independent path where you can practice medicine the way you want to and not worry about the business side of things,” he says.

In it together

Bhadriraju family in AlaskaFour years ago, Dr. Bhadriraju began agreeing to long-term locum tenens contracts. Although locum tenens opportunities can vary in duration – from a long weekend to many months – Dr. Bhadriraju has preferred to accept long-term assignments. With their children away at college, he, his wife, and their beloved golden retriever, spent a year in Alaska before heading to Wisconsin for another year-long contract. Extended stays offer two-fold benefits: First, he’s afforded the time to see patients and provide continuity-of-care work; and second, Dr. Bhadriraju and his wife form new friendships in their temporary hometowns.

“I reach out to people and people reciprocate to reach out to me,” he comments. “I have friends in the community both in the medical field as well as non-medical people I get to meet. There’s a lot of opportunity for socializing.”

One of the most influential professional relationships Dr. Bhadriraju has formed is with his Weatherby consultant, Lauren Mease.

“Lauren and Weatherby Healthcare have been partners with me. They handle the logistics so I can focus on taking care of patients,” he comments.

In addition to presenting assignment opportunities that match his skill set and preferences, Mease works with housing representatives to make sure Dr. Bhadriraju and family are placed in pet-friendly accommodations. She communicates with facility representatives if concerns crop up and just checks in periodically to stay in touch or answer questions.

“She’s very professional, very knowledgeable, and talks to you about possibilities without any element of pressure involved,” says Dr. Bhadriraju. “Everything is very transparent.”

In fact, Dr. Bhadriraju attributes his professional and personal satisfaction with locum tenens in part to his consultant’s dedication. Earlier this year, Dr. Bhadriraju was named by Weatherby Healthcare a 2018 Locum Tenens of the Year in recognition of his commitment to excellence and his dedication to patient care.

“I want to share the recognition with Lauren because she has been an absolute delight to work with,” he states. “This is a long-term partnership, so it’s very important to work with people who have your interests as a priority. That really allows me to focus on the clinical side of medicine and not worry about the other aspects.”

Interested in exploring locum tenens as a career option? View today’s job openings or give us a call at 954.343.3050.

About the author

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Anne Baye Ericksen

Anne Baye Ericksen is a journalist and locum tenens subject-matter expert with more than two decades of experience. She was a regular contributor to LocumLife, Healthcare Traveler and Healthcare Staffing and Management Solutions magazines.

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