Provider Stories

How this physician combined locum tenens and a sailboat to create her ideal life

Quick. Name a career that pays well, allows you to choose the days you want to work, and lets you move your work location around whenever you feel like it. We’ll add with a wink that it’s also 100 percent legal and benefits humanity. If you guessed being a locum tenens physician, you’re right.

After being land locked in Arkansas for 15 years, Dr. Robin Mangione and her husband Michael dared to imagine a different life. As a two-career couple balancing permanent shift work, they were rarely home – or awake – at the same time and needed a change. They loved the water and wondered what living on a sailboat would be like, so using locum tenens as their transition strategy, they decided to give it a try.

image of locum tenens sailing - doctor robin mangione at the helm of her sailboat

Five thousand nautical miles later, and with many “bucket list” ports of call behind them, they both rate the change as one of the best decisions they ever made.

Dr. Mangione says, “This has been a great experience for me, because Michael and I have managed to travel pretty much the whole time I’ve been working with Weatherby. We’ve been down to the keys and up the Eastern Seaboard to the Chesapeake. [Working locums has] allowed us to go and do some things that we’ve never done before.”

It’s about flexibility and freedom of choice

What makes the experience so ideal for Dr. Robin and Michael? The flexibility of locum tenens benefits them in a number of ways. One advantage is the freedom to pick and choose assignments to follow the seasons from one coastal paradise to the next. Another big one is that they can plan their sailing stops around important family events, knowing they can line up locums work nearby.

Dr. Mangione talks enthusiastically about one such trip in particular. “My husband’s sister works for the State Department. She and her family were in Washington DC between assignments, so we got to make our plans to be up there for the summer.” They anchored near Annapolis, Maryland and Dr. Mangione worked locums assignments in the area for a few months between family visits. Her husband usually stays on the boat, and she can work a few days in a row, leaving them with long weekends together.

Locum tenens can be a huge advantage on the home front

As the spouse of a Weatherby physician, Michael says that locum tenens has made a positive difference for them as a couple.

“We’re absolutely, totally free right now. We’re eight dock lines from moving anywhere on the planet that we want to go, and we have spent considerably more time together. When Robin goes to some really cool assignment, I get to go with her and Weatherby totally accommodates the travel without a hitch.”

locum tenens sailing - image of robin and michael mangione aboard their sailboat

For Robin and Michael, their long-term relationship with Weatherby Healthcare gives them the flexibility to live life on their own terms. A longer upcoming assignment in Florida will provide them with a temporary home base in a comfortable furnished apartment while they prepare to sell their boat and trade up to a bigger one. This will open up even more travel options for them as they plan new destinations and more extended sailing adventures.

A big part of what makes all this possible is the rapport and trust they’ve established with Dr. Mangione’s Weatherby recruiter. Robin has the flexibility to say, “Look, we’re going to be in one place or another, so give me something that’s about an hour to an hour-and-a-half away. I’ll pop up there, work four or five days, and be back down at the boat for a long weekend. We’ll usually stay in a marina, pick an area where we want to hang out for a while, and really explore it. We’re maximizing our time together, and that’s been a really good thing for us.”

About the author

Tim McDonnell

Tim McDonnell

Tim McDonnell is a content developer at Weatherby Healthcare and loves bringing people together with stories that make a difference. After hours, Tim is a book, movie, and music enthusiast and will seize just about any opportunity to travel.


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  • sign me up…well, not that fast….. but interested. I have a 50ft motoryacht in Marina Del Rey and am a gynecologic oncologist and robotic surgeon as well as an integrative medicine practitioner.

    Anyway, interesting article. Keep me posted.


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