Provider Stories

Locum Tenens in Small-Town America

Dr. Robert DowdeswellOne of the benefits of working locum tenens is the flexibility to choose where you practice. In honor of National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (April 22 – 26), we spoke with Robert Dowdeswell, MD—a pathologist who accepts opportunities through Weatherby Healthcare—about the assignment areas that most appeal to him.

“I’ve taken locum tenens jobs in rural parts of Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland and Wisconsin,” says Dr. Dowdeswell. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that practicing in small-town America puts you on the front lines of healthcare. Most of the people I treat don’t have access to larger facilities, specialty clinics or research institutions, so I often manage more interesting or complex cases than I might see in larger cities.”

One of Dr. Dowdeswell’s draws for practicing in rural areas is the personal connections he’s able to make at his assignment facilities. For him, working with smaller staffs makes it easier to develop relationships within a shorter period of time.

”Staff members at rural facilities are always warm and appreciative of having you there. It’s also rewarding to work with a smaller patient base. When I’m on a locum tenens engagement in a rural area, I’m typically seeing less people on a daily basis than I would in an urban setting. I like the ability to spend more time with everyone.”

But the benefits of working as a locum tenens physician in rural locations aren’t merely practice-focused. Dr. Dowdeswell explains the local people and their communities are among the reasons he finds himself going back to small-town America.

“Assignments in less-populated areas give me the opportunity to really get to know the people. The locals make sure I’m well looked after; they know their medical community and love having someone there to help out. Neighborhood events and local entertainment are plentiful, too, if you’re willing to look for them.”

Of course, the rural route may not be for everyone. Some locum tenens providers enjoy the opposite–preferring opportunities in big cities–while others like a healthy mix of both options.

Whatever your preference, a dedicated consultant can help you explore the possibilities and find the perfect fit.

About the author


Bobbi Harrison

Bobbi Harrison is the communications manager at Weatherby Healthcare. She is the former editor of LocumLife and Healthcare Traveler magazines, and also served as the managing editor of Healthcare Staffing and Management Solutions. A recipient of the American Society of Business Publication Editors’ prestigious gold award, she has more than a decade of publishing experience in the staffing industry.

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