Locum tenens providers regularly go above and beyond, stepping in as needed to ensure millions of patients nationwide receive the healthcare they need. Often called to jobs in rural and under-served communities, these physicians adapt to new settings with ease and grace, tending to patients and giving overworked colleagues much-needed time off.
In an effort to recognize the best of the best, providers who consistently exemplify the true tenets of locum tenens practice—quality, compassion, and caring—Weatherby Healthcare recently named three physicians as 2017 Locum Tenens of the Year.
Locum tenens of the year award winner – meet Dr. Simran Kalra
Simran Kalra, MD, was one of the deserving winners. After completing her residency in pediatrics in 2012, Dr. Kalra jumped into locum tenens with both feet. She has spent the last five years as a full-time locum tenens provider personally ensuring that patients in rural Virginia, Maryland, and New York can receive quality care.
“Dr. Kalra is always wiling to step in at a moment’s notice when lack of coverage puts patient care in jeopardy,” says Tyler Morgan, Weatherby Healthcare consultant, pediatrics division. “When we need to someone to jump in at the last minute and save the day, Dr. Kalra makes it happen. And her unwavering commitment to patient care is just part of what makes her worthy of recognition.”
Loyalty is another strong point of Dr. Kalra’s. “Since joining Weatherby five years ago, I have worked at a lot of different places, but also at a lot of the same places, again and again,” she explains. “One of the first clinics I worked at asks me back several times a year, so I am able to see some of my patients growing up, which is a treat.”
Building working relationships through locum tenens
Dr. Kalra also appreciates the personal and professional relationships she’s built with her colleagues. “I often get invited to stay on permanently. Even though I am not ready to accept these offers, and give up the fantastic flexibility locum tenens practice affords me, I do want to stay close to the people I enjoy working with. I recently did a repeat contract at the very first facility I had ever worked at, and they threw me a surprise baby shower! It really made me feel like I belonged.”
As Dr. Kalra anticipates the birth of her child, she is more grateful than ever for the scheduling flexibility she maintains as a locum tenens doc. “Before I got pregnant I’d work as a pediatric hospitalist seven straight days away from home, doing mostly deliveries and pediatric admissions. Then I’d also step in at clinics, maybe three or four days a week, but not necessarily every week,” she says.
“But when I want some time off, I can easily schedule it. If I want to take a month or two for travel, I can plan that without asking permission or switching schedules with someone. It suits me well.”
Travel, love, and other locum tenens advantages
Travel is important to Dr. Kalra and her husband. In fact, it is what sparked their relationship. “During my residency I did a medical mission in Peru, and Willian was there working as a translator. I could only stay seven days, but we hit it off so well I agreed to return once my residency was completed. As fate would have, it was locum tenens contracts that allowed me the flexibility and earning potential to make that happen. I fell in love with Willian and I fell in love with locum tenens, and the rest is history.”
Since then, Dr. Kalra and her husband have been able to travel all over the world. “Thanks to my flexible schedule, we can stay somewhere for weeks at a time and really dig in. Thanks also to locums, I feel like my work really makes a difference in patients’ lives. Sometimes I’ll step in at a department that was at risk of closing because of lack of pediatric care. It feels incredible to know I’m helping to ensure these patients don’t have to travel two hours for care. And that my hard-working colleagues aren’t on their own and at risk of burn out.
“Fortunately, Weatherby makes this as easy as possible. My consultant, Tyler, is amazing. If I email him with a question or concern, he always writes back immediately, even if it’s 11pm. And as a well-supported locum tenens provider, political and administrative hassles play no part in my life. I spend my time at work providing services to patients who need it and I spend my time away from work concentrating on my family, my husband, and soon, my child. I am grateful that locum tenens makes that possible, and very grateful to have been named Locum Tenens of the Year.”