One of the biggest benefits of being a locum doctor is undoubtedly the flexibility it gives you. Not only can you choose whereabouts in the UK you want to work, and in what hospital departments, but you also have ultimate control over your working hours, being able to dictate the days and times that you work as well as the ones that you wish to have off as holiday. This adaptability is fantastic for letting you manage your home life alongside your work ambitions, which is ideal if you have a family to care for. A fear for many doctors is overwork and then becoming burnt out, with physical medicine and rehab physician Dr Deidre Redd, from Columbus, Ohio a prime example of how locum work can help you regain your ideal lifestyle.
Dr Redd worked for 11 years in a partnership practice with seven other doctors, and was soon feeling the impacts of her heavy working day across all aspects of her life. “I was working seven days a week and taking two weeks off a year. I was doing things that were burning me out, and I knew I had to terminate that partnership.” With friends on the locum doctor circuit, Dr Redd decided to try it for herself, and has now been working locum shifts exclusively for the past three years, with no desire to return to full time practice.
“I work two weeks at a time, and then I’m off for however long I want to take off. I’ve found that to be incredibly lifesaving and a lot healthier for me,” she expresses. “Locum tenens allows me to have a better work/life balance. I certainly make enough money to meet my needs, and I’m able to just enjoy life.” Dr Redd advises that being flexible is key in your role as a locum doctor, as you are often called upon at short notice, for example to cover a doctor who may have quit or has phoned in sick or maybe even to cover a longer placement maternity leave.
Dr Redd also applauds working with a recruitment agency instead of going it alone. “The recruiters are supportive and allow me to express what may not be going well on an assignment or with my travel arrangements. They do the footwork so I get a license in different states and help with privileges, too. There’s not one person who hasn’t been helpful,” she says.
Providing a great option for trying something new that can massively affect your lifestyle for the better, Dr Redd can’t speak highly enough about completing locum placements. “Locum tenens enables me to have a reduced-stress lifestyle. Though it’s not worry-free, it’s much healthier for me. I want to keep going and, for now, accepting assignments indefinitely.”
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