Many physicians are burnt out. As a result, they’re changing careers — an astonishing 40% of them — according to a recent survey by CHG Healthcare. Why are so many doctors burned out? They’re spending too much time on bureaucratic tasks and long hours in the office. They want to reintroduce work/life balance to their lives.
Achieving a healthy work/life balance is easier said than done — but taking locum tenens jobs is one solution. Find out how these four Weatherby Healthcare doctors gained more control over their schedules through temporary assignments.
Setting work boundaries
“One thing people might not realize about locum tenens jobs is you can choose facilities with a better fit for you in terms of workload, whether you want assignments that are very busy or a more relaxed schedule,” says Dr. Marilyn Berko, a pediatrician who’s worked with Weatherby Healthcare since 2015.
When her demanding hospital schedule became too much, Dr. Berko realized she needed a break and wanted time to travel.
It isn’t easy for her to be away from family, but she takes short assignments and sometimes even heads home on the weekends to see her husband.
“Each assignment has pros and cons, but I’ve loved the adventures and the fact that I’m working in communities and better reimbursed for the level of work I choose,” Dr. Berko says.
The flexibility to give back
“Everyone I knew who had done locum tenens had been really happy as a short- or long-term career plan,” shares Dr. Jane Park, an internal medicine pediatrics physician. “And because I’m able to dictate my own schedule and make good money, I could do things that were meaningful for me in other ways, whether it’s international work or spending time with my family.”
Dr. Park discovered her love for medical missionary work at a young age, but a permanent schedule never allowed her the time to take off for her international work. “I’d take assignments as short as five weeks, but I’ve also taken some as long as four months. Between assignments, I can pursue various international medical work opportunities.”
Throughout her career, Dr. Park has done medical mission work in Kenya, Peru, and locations in need in the U.S.
“Locum tenens has given me the flexible schedule to take these trips, but also spend time with my family. That’s what makes locum tenens so great.”
Bringing less baggage home from work
“I don’t always get to see the final outcome of patient care when I work locum tenens, but I also don’t get bogged down with the complexity of my work every day and am able to maintain my family life,” Dr. Prasanta Chandra, an OB/GYN, says. “I don’t bring home all these problems because I can be there and do the work.”
Dr. Chandra works part-time at his practice in New York City and takes locum tenens assignments — usually 10 days at a time — during the rest of the month.
He also takes time for himself, and recently took a two-week vacation to India. This wouldn’t have been possible while working full time.
“I have the freedom to pursue what I want to do and time in my schedule for new opportunities,” Dr. Chandra expresses. “I am a better doctor when I work locum tenens because I’m more present — and that makes the patients and the staff feel secure.”
Two ships in the night
Dr. Robin Mangione and her husband, Michael, rarely saw each other. Dr. Mangione would come home from working 16- to 24-hour shifts and immediately go to bed. “A night shift would essentially take two days away from our time together. Sometimes it was like we were two ships in the night.”
They decided it was time for a change. They wanted a schedule so they could have quality, uninterrupted time together. And then Dr. Mangione was introduced to locum tenens, and she found her solution. The flexibility of locum tenens allayed burnout, and since she was able to personalize the schedule she wanted, she and her husband were able to pursue their lifelong dream of living on a sailboat.
“We’re eight dock lines from moving anywhere on the planet. Locums is a great experience because we’ve managed to travel pretty much the whole time I’ve been working locum assignments.”
And Dr. Mangione has no intention of being tied to one location with a strict, inflexible schedule.
“Locums has allowed us to live this life, and we’ll keep living it,” she says. “We’re doing things we love, I’m maintaining my career, which is important to me. It’s a win-win.”
Looking for more flexibility in your work schedule? Check out our open locum tenens jobs to see what best fits your lifestyle.