Family medicine physician Dr. Robin Mangione and her husband, Michael, were nostalgic for the time when they could spend uninterrupted, quality time together. As a two-career couple balancing permanent shift work, they were rarely home – or awake – at the same time, and needed a change.
“There were times when, after a 16- or 24-hour shift, I’d come home and just go to sleep. A night shift would essentially take two days away from our time together,” she says. “Sometimes it was like we were two ships in the night.”
Locum tenens and sailing: It’s all about flexibility
It was then they decided something had to change. Michael left his job, and they decided to jump in feet first to the sailing life — something they’d dreamt of for over a decade. “After reading Maiden Voyage about a young woman sailing the world, Michael fell in love with the idea,” Dr. Mangione says. “We bought a boat and taught ourselves how to sail. But we were afraid that medicine was going to keep us from following our dream. Medicine, however, has been the thing that has allowed us to sail — all because of locum tenens.”
What makes the experience so ideal for Dr. Mangione and her husband? The flexibility of locum tenens gives them the freedom to pick and choose assignments, giving them the ability to follow the seasons from one coastal paradise to the next.
“I usually do fairly short assignments, like maybe a week, or a long weekend. I show up to a location and work four or five days, then head back to the boat for a long weekend,” she says. “Most of the time I leave Michael on the boat. He’s the one who keeps the systems running on the boat. He’s maintenance and chief cook. It’s a bit of a role reversal.”
Sailboat living opens up the world
“We’re eight dock lines from moving anywhere on the planet that we want to go,” 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 Florida Keys and up the Eastern Seaboard to the Chesapeake.”
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.
One sailing trip was particularly memorable. “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.
Savoring quality time together
As the spouse of a Weatherby physician, Michael says that locum tenens has made a positive difference for them as a couple. “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.”
For Dr. Mangione and her husband, their long-term relationship with Weatherby Healthcare gives them the flexibility to live life on their own terms. “When I’m working, I’m working. But I think we’re maximizing our time together. Michael agrees, and has said that when he travels with me, we’re still spending way more time together now, even though I’m working. And it’s because of the flexibility of locums. It’s been a really good thing for us.”
A big part of what makes their lifestyle possible is the rapport and trust they’ve established with Dr. Mangione’s Weatherby recruiter. She feels she has the flexibility to say, “We’re going to be in one place or another, so give me something that’s about an hour away. We’ll usually stay in a marina, pick an area where we want to hang out for a while, and really explore it.”
The Mangiones say they have no intention of giving up their sailing lifestyle anytime soon. “Locums has allowed us to live this life, and we’ll keep living it our way while we’re young and healthy. We’re getting to do things we love, I’m maintaining my career, which is important to me, and I can touch people’s lives. It’s a win-win.”