Locum tenens can be a richly rewarding and flexible career path for many physicians. The reasons for pursuing locum tenens work are as varied and individual as the dedicated healthcare professionals themselves. Just as important as the ‘why’ behind pursuing locums is the healthcare staffing organization with whom one chooses to partner. Weatherby Healthcare prides itself on going above and beyond for our locum tenens physicians. Hear from seven providers who share how the Weatherby team’s commitment to excellence has enhanced their locum tenens experience.
One of the most important contributors to a successful locum tenens work environment is a dependable recruiter.
“There are few things you can depend on in life, but one of them for me is my recruiter, Hopel,” says general surgeon Dr. Demetri Poulis. “At the beginning, she guided me step by step through everything. I knew I could call her at 3 am and she would help me out. She has been my lifeline.”
“Hopel has taken away all the uncertainty about going to different places. I think without her it would be, not necessarily more difficult, but more anxiety producing. Hopel evens things out. I’ve said it before: If I were to win the lottery, I would give her a million dollars. She is worth everything. My relationship with Hopel has made this work. There’s no question about it.”
Dr. Jim Mock, an emergency medicine physician, expounds on the benefits of recruiter dependability.
“When I’m working, I want to be concentrating on taking care of patients and not wondering where I’m going next or whether I’m going to be able to make a living and support my family,” says Dr. Mock. “My recruiter, Nick, is already behind the scenes taking care of that. As a result, in the 10 years I’ve been working with Weatherby, I’ve never had to worry whether I have enough work. I’ve never had a month where I didn’t have all the work I wanted.”
Pediatric surgeon Dr. Julie Long emphasizes the importance of trust when it comes to working with a recruiter.
“I can’t imagine not having a high level of trust in the relationship, because it’s such a dramatic change from working at one practice to working locums,” says Dr. Long. “So if you don’t trust the person you’re working with and they don’t have experience, it could quickly get chaotic. Trust is essential.”
A physician of more than 30 years, Dr. Long has been working locums for two years and credits her recruiter, Carla, for drawing her to — and keeping her with — Weatherby.
“I don’t think it was Carla that convinced me to do locums, but it was Carla that convinced me I wanted to do locums with Weatherby,” says Dr. Long. “The organization has a great reputation. When I met her, I immediately liked her and knew I didn’t need to look any further.”
Dr. Robin Pellegrini, a trauma and critical care physician, also credits her recruiter and the trust they’ve established as the key to a continued relationship.
“I think what made me connect with Steve right away was his honesty,” says Dr. Pellegrini. “I really developed a trust in him because he had been doing this for so long that he knew what was needed. He was able to guide me through the process.”
Physicians also underscore the importance of a responsive team when it comes to securing assignments, answering questions, keeping apprised of information, and even adjusting weather-impacted travel arrangements.
“This is one of the best companies I’ve ever worked for,” says Dr. Poulis. “If there is ever a problem, it gets fixed right away. If there’s a question, it gets answered. There are never more than a couple of hours before I receive an answer to a question.”
“Other companies were not as responsive to my needs and there would often be long periods of not being able to get in contact with anyone for updates and information,” says internist Dr. Matthew Dothager. “Weatherby was very responsive. My recruiter was able to get me my first assignment within seven days, and it was a very enjoyable, quick, and efficient process.”
Dr. Dothager especially appreciated the travel team’s responsiveness when Hurricane Irma hit Florida and threatened to impact his travel to a new assignment.
“Everything in South Florida was booked entirely, so they worked with me to drive to Orlando and fly to my assignment in West Virginia,” says Dr. Dothager. “They made all the arrangements and made sure all my expenses were covered to deal with the last-minute change of plans.”
Dr. Mock also extols the virtue of a relationship-oriented partner and says his recruiter’s investment in him and in their relationship is paying important dividends.
“Nick is an advocate and counselor, but first and foremost, he’s a friend,” says Dr. Mock. “He looks for jobs and knows my preferences well because we are friends and have worked together for so long. There is a lot of groundwork we don’t have to cover. He seeks out jobs or finds contracts that fit my schedule and preferences well. It’s one of the most successful business relationships I’ve had since I’ve been a physician.”
Dr. Mock as well as Dr. Edward Babigunira, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician based in Chicago, praise the Weatherby team’s role in ensuring transitions go smoothly.
“A major benefit is working with an organized staff that handles all of the ancillary needs, the background needs, the credentialing, the travel, all of that is taken care of and it’s in an effortlessly free-flowing fashion that all gets handled. So when I actually show up to work all I have to do is work,” says Dr. Mock.
“This is such an amazing team. The preparation is so good, there are never any surprises,” says Dr. Babigunira. “From the hotel to the rental car and sending the schedule in advance, it’s all set and such a smooth, quick transition.”
Care and consideration
Emergency medicine physician Dr. Robin Mangione pursued locum tenens as a way to help make her career more compatible with her family’s plan to spend more time on their sailboat at sea. She commends the Weatherby team’s consideration of her needs and interests.
“I was always afraid that medicine was going to keep us from doing this, but locums is actually the thing that has allowed us to. My spouse and I are getting to do the things we love. I’m still maintaining my career — which is important to me — and I’m getting to practice and touch people’s lives. I feel like the care and consideration I’ve felt from Weatherby has been very instrumental in the success of what we’ve been doing,” says Dr. Mangione.
Dr. Long also speaks to the feeling of being cared for by the Weatherby team.
“One time I was traveling and because of weather and delays, I missed a connection. I was not in a big place and my Wi-Fi wasn’t great. I called the team and immediately they said, ‘Okay, here are your options.’ It was so nice. It was the feeling that, ‘oh, I’m being taken care of.’ Everyone is so great. They feel like friends I haven’t met yet.”