“All of us are trained to go to college, go to med school, go to residency, get a position someplace: You never stop to look around. I should have looked more,” admits Demetri Poulis, MD, AdventHealth Medical Group Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine.
The above statement generally describes the bulk of Dr. Poulis’s career before switching to locum tenens a few years ago. That transition presented opportunities for the general surgery specialist to experience working at many different facilities in different communities, including AdventHealth Hendersonville. At the time, the North Carolina hospital faced an immediate staffing void. Rather than scale back on surgical services available to patients while recruiting new staff, administrators decided to utilize locum tenens. They reached out to Weatherby Healthcare, and their consultant, Steven Grisak, connected them with the right surgeon for the job: Dr. Poulis.
“I was there for about seven months for my first assignment, and then a week or 10 days at a time on a recurring basis for another year,” he says. “I don’t know how else to say it except I just fit in there.”
Indeed, Dr. Poulis was so comfortable in the environment and with staff and patients that he decided to stop looking around and, in 2018, accepted a full-time position with the facility.
“I have to say, it was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done,” he notes. “There were no bumps in the road.”
Although Dr. Poulis didn’t set off on locum tenens assignments with the intent to secure a permanent position, the situation presented itself nonetheless. And because he had the luxury of experiencing the clinical environment first-hand, the surgeon felt confident in making the career change.
That same real-time evaluation can be an advantage for healthcare facilities, too. In fact, Dr. Poulis is an example of how facilities can use locum tenens as a key physician recruitment tool for permanent positions.
“We put lots of time and effort into making sure people are the right fit,” says Emily Ducat, a physician recruiter for AdventHealth Hendersonville. “Permanent candidates can’t come in to do a demo surgery. Having Dr. Poulis here allowed us to get a good, solid evaluation of his skills and see just how great he is. It was really valuable knowing that.”
First impressions were positive, but as time passed and a familiarity grew between staff, administrators, and physician, Ducat says it became evident Dr. Poulis would be a beneficial addition on a permanent basis.
“Our mission and commitment to whole-person care — mind, body and spirit means cultural fit is a huge deal at AdventHealth Hendersonville. He was dedicated to us from day one, making sure all of our patients had the care they needed,” she recalls. “Knowing Dr. Poulis’ demeanor and dedication was invaluable.”
The hospital proffered the surgeon a full-time job on more than one occasion; however, Dr. Poulis hesitated at first. He didn’t wish to return to an over-demanding schedule that could lead to burnout like he previously experienced in other permanent positions. So after some negotiation between clinician and recruiters, a deal was reached to create a new position that allowed him to focus on wound care and cover general surgery call.
“He actually has filled a niche we weren’t even hiring for; that’s how good of a fit Dr. Poulis is. It’s rare to find someone who you keep on even though there wasn’t a specific opening,” notes Ducat.
Converting Dr. Poulis’s contract from locum tenens to permanent began with a call to Steve at Weatherby Healthcare and the process got rolling quickly. Both Ducat and Dr. Poulis confirmed the agreed-upon details, including his official start date as the hospital’s newest staff member. At that point, Weatherby Healthcare invoiced the facility with a pre-arranged, market-rate-based buyout fee as per the language in the client agreement, and the deal was sealed.
“It was very straightforward,” Ducat comments. “Finding a company that is going to be another member of your team looking out for what’s best for the facility, is a great option.”
Of course, not all temporary assignments will end up with facilities hiring locum tenens for permanent positions, but when circumstances align for both parties, it’s definitely a win-win scenario, and worth a look.
For assistance in filling a temporary need at your facility, give us a call at 954.837.2557.