Dr. Jelica Maze was beginning her fellowship when she learned about locum tenens from a senior fellow who’d taken several assignments. She kept the idea in the back of her mind until the final year of her fellowship, when she had the chance to help her father in his medical practice and juggle part-time locum tenens jobs at the same time.
“I thought locum tenens was a good choice to gain experience, figure out what I wanted to do and make a well-informed decision,” the cardiologist says. “It gives you flexibility to do different things, discover how you like to practice and what you like to do on a daily basis.”
Dr. Maze enjoyed the freedom to set her own schedule more when she began a long-distance relationship with her future husband — and even more when she got married, relocated and had a son.
“I was able to take the maternity leave I thought was best for me and my family through doing locum tenens work,” Dr. Maze expresses. “I worked full-time before my son was born, but once I was ready to return to work I could only manage two weeks a month. Fortunately, Weatherby Healthcare is able to accommodate that schedule.”
Now that her son is a bit older, Dr. Maze finds it easier to travel and is relishing the chance to see America in a new light through locum tenens jobs.
“You get to experience pieces of Americana you wouldn’t have thought were there. For example, I loved this little place in Mount Vernon, Iowa, with the best wood-fired pizza and folk music ambience,” she says. “You can take trips to little nearby places — like the National Brewery Museum in Potosi, Wisc., or the Frank Lloyd Wright hotel in Mason City, Iowa — you would never have seen otherwise.”
Dr. Maze says the biggest challenge of locum tenens is being away from family and leaving patients behind once you begin developing relationships with them, but she finds she actually has more time with her son when she’s home.
“During the weeks I’m home, I’m 100 percent here and get to spend quality time with my family,” Dr. Maze expresses. “I can choose the dates I want to work, accommodate vacations and take jobs close to home — sometimes just an hour-long flight away.”
While each assignment brings different rewards, Dr. Maze says locum tenens jobs allow her to play different roles and make sure patient care is her first priority.
“I’ve worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings, which has given me good experience in a variety of practice styles. I even meet other locums doctors I sometimes cross paths with again later,” she says. “As a locum tenens doctor, I am completely involved in patient care because there are no administrative or political hassles — and that’s what I love to do. It is very rewarding to be able to help out in areas of need. Your work is really valued by the patients and your peers.”