Weatherby Healthcare is honored to work with thousands of talented full time locum tenens physicians who make a difference. They answer the call when facilities need qualified staff so their patients receive the care they deserve, even though accepting temporary contracts may require them to be away from their homes and families.
Locum Tenens of the year award winner: Dr. Greg Carr
To recognize physicians who serve as premier examples of what it means to be a locum tenens professional—individuals who consistently demonstrate exemplary skills, adaptability, and compassion—Weatherby Healthcare recently named three physicians as 2017 Locum Tenens of the Year. Now, meet one of the winners.
Gregg Carr, MD, will forever remember the moment he decided to drop his preconceptions of locum tenens and give the career alternative a chance. Previously, he didn’t think it was an option for residents, which he was back in 2012, and he questioned whether temporary positions could financially support him, his wife, and four sons. On a resident’s salary, funds were already tight.
Making the switch to full time locum tenens
“I always thought it seemed unstable to do contract work,” he admits.
But when his vehicle broke down and Dr. Carr had to rely on public transportation, he recalled conversations he’d been having with Marc Miller, a Weatherby Healthcare consultant.
“He was talking about locum tenens opportunities here and there, and I thought they sounded appealing, especially while I sat on the bus,” Dr. Carr remembers.
The more he replayed these conversations in his mind, the more Dr. Carr reevaluated what he could gain from accepting short-term opportunities.
Locum tenens with family
Also around this time, the family was discussing a move to Hawaii. In fact, Dr. Carr had already initiated the recruitment process with a public facility on one of the islands, but he was becoming discouraged by the slow progress.
“The state hospital said it was going to take four months for them to credential me,” he explains. “I was like, I can’t wait four months to start working. I need to get money right now.”
So on one of those bus rides, Dr. Carr decided that he could get the result he wanted faster by taking a locum tenens assignment. He offered the facility a proposal to switch the position from permanent to temporary. The administrators agreed, and soon enough, the Carrs were headed to Hawaii.
The day-to-day realities of locum tenens
As it turns out, the island paradise didn’t live up to expectations. However, the working experience exceeded Dr. Carr’s expectations of locum tenens.
“There are a lot of pluses. You receive a higher wage. You get a little bit of freedom. I didn’t have the burden of call on weekends, which is nice to have time off,” he says. “Plus, you’re not necessarily locked into that job.”
Despite the disappointment about island life—the family planned to move back to California—Dr. Carr wanted to continue his locum tenens career. He called Weatherby Healthcare, and his consultant helped him to identify and weigh his options.
“I asked, ‘Can you get me one of those high-paying locum jobs you were talking about?’ Marc, my consultant, said, ‘I have something in Arizona,’ and I said, ‘Perfect!’ I started working there and had no idea it was going to keep going and going and going,” he says.
The advantages of assignments in less popular locations
For the past five years, Dr. Carr has devoted his weekdays to practicing at various hospitals throughout Arizona, oftentimes agreeing to long-term contracts. According to his consultant, Dr. Carr accepts positions in locations that may be deemed “less desirable” or were turned down by other physicians. But weekends are devoted to his family.
“I come home on Friday and hang out all weekend. Actually, it helps to keep things fresh with our marriage,” Dr. Carr confides.
Although Dr. Carr has received offers to become full-time staff, and he’s far from saying that he’ll never accept a permanent position, for now, he’s happy fulfilling temporary needs, thanks in part to the support he receives from his consultant.
“I feel like my consultant Marc is there to make sure I am well cared for by the facility and that my needs are met as far as my work or pay situation,” he says.
And, because he’s provided with a rental car on each assignment, Dr. Carr still hasn’t replaced that malfunctioning automobile. “I have not owned a car for five years,” he quips. Dr. Carr’s life in locum tenens is a great success story, and his devotion to the work made him an easy choice for 2017 locum tenens of the year honors.