Provider Stories

Locum tenens and private practice: The best of both worlds

Man and woman smiling at camera

Dr. John Hennessee has been chosen as one of Weatherby Healthcare’s 2019 Locum Tenens of the Year for his exceptional service, the quality care he offers, and his passion for locums. A psychiatrist with his own private practice, Dr. Hennessee has taken advantage of the flexibility of locum tenens to help grow his practice and give his family new opportunities.

His early career in psychiatry

Portrait of Dr. Hennessee - who uses locum tenens to supplement private practice
Dr. John Hennessee

Dr. Hennessee graduated from med school in 1992. During his third year out of residency, he began doing outpatient and inpatient work as a private practitioner. In addition to his private practice, Dr. Hennessee also did nursing home consultation work with other physicians, serving 40 to 50 nursing homes at a time.

“I’d go into nursing homes and see patients and treat them for their psychiatric comorbidity and and other conditions,” Dr. Hennessee says.

Years after starting his private practice, Dr. Hennessee was drawn to locums. It has since become a pivotal part of his career.

Why he started working locums

Dr. Hennessee began doing locums as a means to supplement his work as a private practitioner. Locums also addressed a big concern Dr. Hennessee encountered as he was growing his practice and brought on a new partner.

“I was really worried that if I didn’t get him busy, he would take a job with a hospital and they would pay him a big sign-on bonus and a salary. If we didn’t get him up and running pretty quickly, we could lose him,” Dr. Hennessee says.

Dr. Hennessee passed some of the contract work he was doing with hospitals along with some of his own outpatients to his partner. Then for two weeks, he would do locums work while his fellow-physician worked full-time building his own practice. Not only did this scenario work well for the two of them, but the locums work stuck for Dr. Hennessee.

Family of 5 stands in front of ocean

RELATED: How to work locum tenens while maintaining a private practice

How he uses locums today

For four years now, Dr. Hennessee has been doing locums part-time. Sometimes he works locums for two weeks, and sometimes he works for a month. Last year, he and his family spent some extended time in Maui while he did locums work there.

While locums started as a means of supplementary work for Dr. Hennessee, it has since evolved to be a good fit for the needs and wants of his family.

“My youngest is being home-schooled now so the family can stay with me for a while,” Dr. Hennessee says.

Because his family is able to travel with him more often, Dr. Hennessee has taken on more long-term, full-time locums jobs. One thing he and his family like best is that locums gets them out of the cold weather and to areas where they can enjoy the sun. It’s allowed his family to get some vacationing in.

Making locums work with private practice

Locums keeps Dr. Hennessee fairly busy, and he still has his private practice to manage — but he’s been able to make both jobs work.

“I still have other providers, still have employees, still have all those responsibilities,” he said of his private practice, “but I have a good office manager and we’ve learned to work, to some extent, without me being there.”

Man stands in front of ocean landscape

One thing that has helped Dr. Hennessee stay on top of it all is telemedicine. Over the past couple of years, he’s been able to do telepsych for several patients while working away from his practice on locums assignments. His locums schedule has allowed him the freedom to do it, especially when he was working in Maui.

“Maui ended up working extremely well because of the time change,” Dr. Hennessee said. “I could get up early — I’d get up at four and I would see patients back in Oklahoma for three to four hours before I headed off to my day job on Maui.”

By working locums in addition to his private practice, Dr. Hennessee has been able to effectively supplement his work. Locums has given him more career flexibility and helped shape him into the physician he is today.

To learn more about how locum tenens can help you achieve your career goals, give us a call at 954.343.3050 to speak to a consultant.

About the author

Arianna Rees

Arianna Rees is a writer and journalist with over nine years of professional experience. When she’s not glued to her computer screen, she’s climbing mountains, cycling, or reading stacks of books.

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