Category Archives: Physicians

Locum Tenens Provider Spotlight: Where a Passion for Psychiatry Converges with Advocacy

Dr. Eisele currently works with Consilium in inpatient and outpatient community mental health settings.

Karla Eisele couldn’t tell you exactly when or why she first decided to become a physician—it was just always part of her life plan, even as a young child. There were no doctors in her family, but she says the medical field drew her in “like a magnet.”

Despite the early affinity for a career in medicine, Eisele—a woman of many talents—did venture off on the occupational “detour” or two, so to speak.

“I did get sidetracked for a while,” Eisele said. “I realized in college that I also really loved math, and I ended up teaching high school math in Colorado! That was fun, but medicine was always in the back of my mind—after teaching for a few years, I finally decided to take this whole ‘medical school thing’ seriously.”

“I work very hard, so I love that with Consilium, I have the flexibility to schedule a vacation whenever is best for me. I just let Penny—my account manager—know when I will be out, and she takes care of everything.”

Dr. Eisele on her most recent vacation, pictured with her boyfriend Greg

Her decision to pursue psychiatry in particular had much to do with the foresight of her medical school: already aware of the psychiatrist shortage, the University of Colorado had introduced a psychiatry rotation for second-year students to provide early exposure and encourage higher entry to the field.

“Listen, your second year of medical school, you are so bogged down with lectures that a rotation in ANYTHING would be a welcome change,” Eisele laughed. “But that was honestly just ‘it’ for me. As soon as I got involved in psychiatry it was all over—I knew this was absolutely what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing.”

After medical school, Dr. Eisele completed residency in Wichita, Kansas, and soon after made her way to Idaho, where she worked in an inpatient state mental health facility.

“This was probably a bit naïve, but I had really planned to stay at that hospital forever,” Eisele said. “I really loved it there, but eventually I just needed a change of pace and scenery.”

After seven years as an inpatient psychiatrist in Idaho, Dr. Eisele was eager to move to a new work setting but was leery of committing to a new job before knowing it was the right fit. To ensure she would find her ideal new career home, she decided to give locum tenens a try.

“It turns out that I was really fond of those shorter assignments and all the variety they offered, so I ended up sticking with locums,” Eisele said. “I am so glad I was able to start working with Consilium. I’ve been with Penny—my account manager—from the very beginning and she is just so, so nice! She’s sweet yet also tells it to me straight: I know that if I ever have a problem, all I have to do is call Penny and she will handle it right away.”

Q&A with Dr. Karla Eisele, Locum Tenens Psychiatrist

You have a real passion for inpatient settings. What is it that draws you to inpatient psychiatry in particular?

Believe it or not, my favorite thing is that when I go to work every day, I don’t know exactly what situations I will encounter that day—I get to think on my feet a bit. It’s very exciting, very challenging, and at the same time very rewarding, too. It can be incredibly difficult when you have patients who have gone without treatment and are truly afraid that we are going to hurt them rather than help them. The reward piece comes in when they begin to understand that we really do care about them, there really IS something wrong, and we really can help them. It’s when that lightbulb clicks on that you feel like you’ve made a difference.

Also, in inpatient settings you frequently interact with professionals in diverse specialties, which puts me in a better position to advocate for the needs of my patients. Too often, psychiatric patients do not receive quality medical care, so for that reason it is important to remain current in general medicine in addition to psychiatry. As a physician, this is where I get to step in and monitor their medical condition and then refer out to doctors who I trust to treat my patients well and genuinely listen to them.

There is this stigma in the general population surrounding mental illness and the use of psychiatric medications, but it’s truly no different from somebody needing medicine to help control high blood pressure. At the end of the day, my patients are just people—people who need help, who need to know that there are people who care about them and their struggles.

So you really have a platform to advocate for your patients.

Absolutely. And working in community health, I have additional opportunities to do just that. With the economic crash several years back, many facilities that served vulnerable populations closed, and they have not reopened at the same rate they closed. Because I work closely with my patients and their whole care team, I am able to identify ways that processes can be improved and pass that along to facility administrators. In turn, they can use that information to press for changes on a systemic level so we can better serve our patients.

You currently work with Consilium in inpatient and outpatient community health settings—what does a typical “day in your life” look like?

I go to the inpatient unit first thing in the morning and do rounds on anywhere from 4 to 8 patients. Around noon, I go to my outpatient clinic and see people from the community to ensure they are on the best medicines—and the appropriate dosages—for their specific conditions. I used to think that outpatient work would not be exciting enough for me, but I have really enjoyed it!

The really cool thing about the outpatient clinic where Consilium placed me is that the building also houses an adult group home. These are people who are dealing with serious mental illnesses and would not be able to live in the community by themselves. But in the facility, they each have their own unit—which is basically like a little apartment—complete with a kitchen. Basically, they are able to be somewhat independent while also having access to staff members as needed. When it’s time for their visit with me, they just come downstairs. It’s so neat, and it’s really the best possible scenario for my patients.

How has working locum tenens with Consilium impacted your life?

I genuinely feel like my current work arrangement is the best fit for me thus far in my career. The flexibility is one of the best parts for me. I work very hard, so I love that Consilium gives me the flexibility to schedule a vacation whenever is best for me. I really, really appreciate that. I am also paid more than if I were working as a permanent employee: it would honestly be difficult to go back to a more traditional set-up because of the pay cut that would require.

Most importantly though, I stay with Consilium because of the working relationship I have built with my account manager over time. At the end of the day, it’s simple: I plan to stay with Penny!

Interested in putting your medical expertise to work with Consilium, or in finding quality medical providers to cover shifts at your facility?

More from Consilium’s partnering locum tenens physicians:

Locum Tenens Provider Spotlight: Strengthening Communities Through Medicine and Ministry

Dr. Days, pictured with his wife Angella, currently works with Consilium at a community health system in South Carolina.

The Pursuit of Medicine as a Roadmap Through Life

Though he speaks with an air of humility that initially belies his—quite considerable—accomplishments, Jacques Days could talk all day about his love for medicine and the people he has the opportunity to serve.

“My career is not just about the medicine: it’s about the connection, about making a difference in people’s lives. The work I get to do with Consilium is completely consistent with my vision for medicine.”

“I actually made the decision to go into family medicine specifically at a young age, probably in the 9th or 10th grade,” Days said. “Although when I announced this to my mother, she was not at all astonished: apparently, I first mentioned becoming a doctor at the age of four, so this was not big news to her.”

Dr. Days is originally from Mount Vernon, Georgia, which boasted a population of fewer than 2,000 people during Days’ childhood. He says that much of his determination to pursue family medicine stemmed from firsthand knowledge of how a community can be affected by inadequate access to medical care.

“The importance of having a sufficient number of physicians to provide care, especially in generally underserved communities, was very salient to me as a child,” Days said. “When you only have one doctor to serve the needs of your whole community—especially when he or she isn’t there but a few days of the week, as was the case in my hometown—there is a real need for someone to fill that gap.”

Ever the pragmatist even as a teenager, Days wanted to ensure he fully understood what he was “getting himself into” before embarking on the winding road that comprises the journey to physicianhood. He spent the summers after his junior and senior years of high school at the Medical College of Georgia, where he completed biomedical science courses and labs, participated in scholarly research, and shadowed physicians. These experiences further solidified the notion that the medical field was exactly where he was meant to be.

Dr. Days completed his undergraduate education at Morris Brown College in Atlanta—to which he received a full-ride scholarship—during which time he also participated in scientific research programs at Emory University and Brown University. Bringing his medical education to that point full circle, Days then enrolled in medical school at the Medical College of Georgia.

Combining a Passion for Medicine with a Dedication to Faith

Another certainty throughout Days’ life is his steadfast belief in a higher power, which ultimately led to his match with the In His Image Family Medicine Residency program, a Christian family medicine residency based in Oklahoma. For him, the clincher was the focus on training resident physicians in a variety of medical settings in order to better serve—and thus minister to—medically underserved populations.

“My residency program really prepared me to practice any kind of medicine anywhere in the world,” Days said. “The idea was that if we ever felt called to foreign medical missions, then we could use our training anywhere. We really experienced the full gamut of family medicine, from obstetrics to chronic, inpatient, emergency, and intensive care.”

Upon his entry into the program, however, Dr. Days recalls feeling some trepidation surrounding obstetrical care. As fate would have it, he was assigned on-call duties his first week in the program, which meant he was responsible for the emergency room and inpatient services as well as the obstetrical unit. He was called in that week for an OB case, a patient the nurse said would be there a long while before delivering. Dr. Days, under the assumption he would only need to check in and provide a status update and reassurance, went to see the expectant (and first-time) mother.

“I was in for quite a shock,” Days said. “I was told that the woman was only dilated to one centimeter, but I immediately discovered that we were looking at more like TEN centimeters. I didn’t have time to call for assistance—or even to gown up!—before essentially catching that baby. But after that moment, you could not tear me away from the obstetrical ward: I absolutely fell in love with it.”

Dr. Days cites the opportunity to pray with expectant parents before delivery as a powerful early merging of his faith and medical expertise. Despite his passion for obstetrics, however, Dr. Days ultimately joined a private practice that did not provide OB services.

“They did invite me to advocate for the inclusion of obstetrical care, but I decided to get acclimated and build some rapport before pressing for such big changes,” Days said. “But—as any physician can testify—if you don’t push for something right out the gate, it’s unlikely to happen down the road. I never did go back to delivering babies.”

Juggling a Full Plate As Thy Cup Runneth Over

When Dr. Days started in private practice in the late ‘90s, he was often there very late in the evening finishing paperwork. At the time, he was handling inpatient on-call duties (this was prior to the rise of hospitalists) in addition to his responsibilities as vice president of family medicine at a nearby hospital. He estimates that at that time, he was consistently dedicating a solid 80 hours per week to work.

Despite his heavy workload, Dr. Days was not one to neglect any pursuit which he believed central to his mission. Alongside his work as a physician, he prepared to answer the call to ministry by completing the five-year pre-ordination training program for the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church, which he completed in 2006. Concurrently, he was working in a community health center as well as taking on occasional locum tenens opportunities on weekends.

In early 2007, Dr. Days decided it was time to take a sabbatical from medicine. Not a full sabbatical, as he clarifies, but it was certainly “time to take a breath.” Though he initially started working locum tenens in 2002 to fill income gaps while searching for a new position, during his sabbatical Dr. Days transitioned to working locum tenens exclusively while he decided upon his next move.

“Hands down, the hardest part about private practice is the ongoing time constraint of excessive paperwork and administrative oversight,” Days said. “The difference with locums is that I choose my own schedule and most of my time is truly spent with patients: I just see my patients, complete necessary paperwork, and go right home at 5 p.m.”

In late 2007, in the midst of his semi-hiatus from medicine, Dr. Days was called to pastor Adams Chapel AME Church in Rock Hill, South Carolina. In a nod to the Apostle Paul, who used his tent-making skills to support himself as he traveled for ministry, Dr. Days refers to locum tenens as his “own personal tent-making.”

Upon accepting the pastorship, Dr. Days returned to the community health center and—with the additional income from working locums—was able to pastor the church without requiring a salary the first two years, and then only a small portion afterwards. In turn, the well-respected work his church performed in the community opened another service-related door: in January of 2016, Dr. Days also began serving as president of the Rock Hill chapter of the NAACP.

“If there is anything I could say that each of my pursuits has in common, it would be a shared commitment to service,” Days said. “What my career journey really demonstrates, from my perspective, is that God is sovereign over all areas of our lives. He has a plan, and everything is connected.”

Self-Care and Service to Others: Finding the Right Balance

In early 2017, Dr. Days decided it was time to start paring down his schedule altogether. He stepped down as pastor after ten years of dedicated service and also declined to run for another term as NAACP president. At present, he even manages to avoid his previously characteristic 80-hour work weeks, a change made possible in large part by working locum tenens.

“I’m only 48, so I’m certainly not old, but I AM starting to feel my age,” Days laughed. “It’s definitely time for me to slow down a bit.”

Despite a more “human” number of obligations, Dr. Days remains a consistent presence in several community health clinics throughout South Carolina. For him, working in community health harkens back to his childhood impetus to study medicine, and Consilium—being a faith-based company with its own commitment to servant leadership—has proven to be the right partner in that endeavor.

“From everything I have experienced, I can say that Consilium falls in line with my own vision for medicine, and they have placed me in clinics where I am able to meet genuine needs in local communities,” Days said. “It is a blessing to work with Consilium in a community health setting—both of which align with my passion for service to others—and know that I am doing something truly beneficial for other people.”

The sheer scope of the service Dr. Days has provided during his lifetime—and the commitment and sacrifices undoubtedly required—certainly begs the question: why (and furthermore, how)?

“Why do I do what I do…,” Days mused. “Really, it boils down to the fact that God has been good to me. My hope is that when I am able to help others, they understand that that service is due to a good and gracious God. If it were just about medicine or the income, I would have quit a long, long time ago. But when I go to work every day, I get to serve people, to connect with them, and that’s really what has made all the difference.”

Interested in putting your medical expertise to work with Consilium, or in finding quality medical providers to cover shifts at your facility?

More from Consilium’s partnering locum tenens physicians:

Locum Tenens Provider Spotlight: Combining Knowledge and Intuition to Make a World of Difference

A Family Mission to Heal

Monzer Saad knew he had a passion for medicine by the time he was 10 or 11 years old. Dr. Saad is originally from Lebanon—many regions of which have faced physician shortages due to long-standing civil unrest—which he says instilled a deep understanding of the importance of accessible medical care. Both his uncle and grandfather were physicians, and as a child he relished any opportunity to shadow them at work. As he grew up, it became increasingly apparent that he felt called to become a doctor.

Finding A Balanced Lifestyle with Locum Tenens

After immigrating to the United States, Dr. Saad attended Wayne State University for his bachelor’s degree and then Michigan State University for medical school, after which he completed three years of residency in internal medicine. Through residency and additional volunteer work, he gained experience in an impressive range of medical environments, which span urgent care, intensive care, outpatient community health, long-term care, rehabilitation, and traditional hospitalist settings.

For a time after completing residency, Dr. Saad covered clinic shifts in addition to his hospitalist work. Including documentations, he was sometimes logging upwards of 18 hours per day plus maintaining 24/7 on-call responsibilities. He soon found that—like many physicians—he had prioritized the needs of his patients while neglecting his own. After crossing a clear burnout threshold, he even considered leaving medicine entirely.

Luckily, Dr. Saad had several friends working locum tenens who encouraged him to consider doing the same. When he received a call from Consilium soon thereafter, he jumped at the opportunity and never looked back. He credits this introduction to locums and ensuing Consilium partnership with the fact that he is still doing the work he loves while also spending ample time with his family.

“My pay while I was working to the point of exhaustion was much lower than my earnings for fewer hours as a locum tenens hospitalist,” said Dr. Saad. “I work very hard and I give each patient the best care that I possibly can, so it is incredibly rewarding to feel that I am appreciated and compensated for that dedication.”

“Going with Your Gut” When it Matters Most

Like many physicians, Dr. Saad can provide numerous examples when asked about memorable experiences in medicine. There was one story in particular, however, that left a significant impression on him…as well as on the patient whose life was forever changed due to Dr. Saad’s diligence, persistence, and willingness to follow his gut instinct.

While working as a hospitalist, he admitted a patient in her early 70s who had numerous nodules on her lungs. She was generally very healthy aside from the nodules, but by the time he saw her, all signs pointed to cancer; she was uncharacteristically weak and very tired. After many talks with her family, Dr. Saad recalled, the patient was at the point of just “letting go,” thinking that it was too late. The woman’s family felt there was no reason to undergo the biopsy process to formally diagnose; the final decision had all but been made.

But when Dr. Saad reviewed her medical records, he saw no family history of cancer and no tobacco use yet an extensive personal history of inflammatory problems. He told his patient that he simply was not convinced she had cancer and asked if she would be willing to have the biopsy despite preliminary tests results. After a great many discussions with her, his patient finally told him, “If you have faith that this really might not be cancer, and you truly believe we should go through with this, then let’s just go for it.”

That trust was very handily rewarded: biopsy results determined that—just as Dr. Saad suspected—the nodules were benign. In reality, his patient had a rare but curable condition called Wegener’s Disease that was causing her symptoms. After several months of treatment, she was completely rid of the nodules and had returned to life as she knew it.

Months later, to Dr. Saad’s surprise, he received an unexpected visitor during one of his shifts. His former patient, fully back to her usual spry self, arrived at the hospital and absolutely insisted upon visiting his floor to present him with homemade cookies, her own personal token of gratitude. That moment, according to Dr. Saad, is still one of the most rewarding points of his career.

Monzer Saad currently works with Consilium as a locum tenens hospitalist. When not on assignment, he spends most of his time with his wife and five-year-old daughter.

Learn more about Dr. Saad’s experience as a locum tenens hospitalist: I Was Considering Leaving Medicine…But Then I Found Locum Tenens

Interested in putting your medical expertise to work with Consilium, or in finding quality medical providers to cover shifts at your facility?

More from Consilium’s partnering locum tenens physicians:

I Was Considering Leaving Medicine…But Then I Found Locum Tenens

As the healthcare landscape in the United States continues to change, physicians are facing larger patient loads and the burden of increased paperwork and other administrative tasks. One of our hospitalists offered insight into how working locum tenens with Consilium has helped him achieve his best work-life balance, meet financial goals, and continue to do the work he loves most.

“You guys truly are doing an excellent job. That’s why we’re still together now, and I hope for many years to come!”

Why I Started Working Locum Tenens

Before making the switch to locum tenens, I was working in a clinic seeing 4+ patients per hour as well as doing copious amounts of office work and then driving to the hospital to see my own patients. Including documentations, I was sometimes working as many as 18 hours per day on top of being on-call 24/7—I was exhausted and my quality of life was virtually zero. At some point I started thinking that this must be what life was like for an internal medicine physician and I considered leaving medicine entirely. Luckily, some of my friends were working locums and suggested I give it a try—I’m so glad I did!

My entry into the locums world began with a phone call from Christian, my recruiter at Consilium, who spent time learning what sort of work opportunities genuinely interested me. That was soon followed by a call from Brent, my account manager, who helped me book my first locums job. I’ve worked with them ever since, and it has really been a great experience.

The best part about Consilium is that I always feel like I’m somehow the only physician they’re working with. At some point I started wondering, “How can they actually give this kind of individualized care to every physician?” Every interaction feels respectful and genuine, and I really appreciate that.

Perks of Working Locum Tenens

Consilium has provided me with exposure to different medical settings and allowed me to do exactly the kind of work I enjoy while also rewarding me for that hard work. In addition to receiving greater overall compensation while working less exhausting hours, when I finish my shift, I’m actually done. I can go home or to my hotel without having to worry about being paged, and if I want to take a vacation far from the hospital, I have that freedom!

Because Consilium offers you exposure to diverse healthcare settings, you are able to make a truly informed decision about what interests you most. Instead of having to visit a new hospital, go through orientation, and spend time walking around meeting people, Consilium actually pays you to become part of a hospital team and get an inside look at how things work and how that setting fits for you.

Advice to New Locum Tenens Physicians

Prioritize self-care. In locums, just as with traditional positions, you have to be sure that you take care of yourself so you don’t end up burned out. Even if you love what you are doing, you cannot keep up a frenetic work schedule and “all-work, no-play” approach for too long. Be sure that you take time for yourself and stay connected to your friends and family members.

Come in with an open mind. One thing that surprised me about working locums was how friendly and welcoming hospital staff have been. Perhaps I’ve gotten lucky, but I always felt like I clicked with everyone and was able to become part of the team, part of the family.

Understand that your account manager is your advocate when you are on assignment. I love that with Consilium, I know that I can always come to my account manager—or even to my recruiter— if I have any questions or concerns. I know that Brent and Christian will take the initiative to call, email, or text me back and make sure any worries are swiftly handled. They just make things easy for me and I could not be happier about my experience with Consilium.

Dr. Monzer Saad, who is originally from Lebanon, says his love for medicine first developed in childhood when he began shadowing his uncle and grandfather, both of whom are physicians. He currently works with Consilium as a nocturnist.

More locum tenens insight from Consilium hospitalists:

Interested in putting your medical expertise to work with Consilium, or in finding quality medical providers to cover shifts at your facility?

Health Tips for Male Physicians From Fellow Doctors

Disclaimer: Views and opinions expressed in this blog are based on the expert opinions of the quoted medical professionals. Post content does not constitute medical advice and is not a reflection of the official stance of Consilium Staffing.

Despite their vast medical knowledge and everyday immersion in the healthcare field, physicians are not immune from facing the same health struggles they help their patients navigate. In fact, as their schedules becoming increasingly hectic, physicians may actually be at higher risk for hypertension, burnout, and slipping into a sedentary lifestyle, all of which can be linked to poorer physical and psychological health. For Men’s Health Week, we spoke with two family practice physicians for tips on how fellow male physicians can counteract those risk factors and maintain peak physical and psychological health.

  • Sahba Ferdowsi currently practices medicine at a men’s health clinic, where he guides patients through health challenges specific to adult men.
  • Steve Papariello, medical director for the Men’s Wellness Centers located in Florida and Virginia, operated his own practice for more than 25 years.

Make Your Well-Being a Priority (And Don’t Apologize For It)

“You have to truly, truly prioritize self-care,” said Papariello. “If you aren’t taking care of yourself, it’s a lot harder to provide the best possible care for your patients and to be your best self for your family.”

Many physicians are unsatisfied with their current work schedules, which frequently leave little room for vacations, time with family and friends, or the pursuit of outside interests. That combination can quickly lead to burnout, one of the many factors that lead physicians to make the switch to working locum tenens, which offers the flexibility to prioritize your emotional health while maintaining your medical career.

“If you want to maintain longevity working in medicine, you absolutely have to figure out how to create a realistic work-life balance,” Ferdowsi said. “You have to leave work at work, period, and you have to decide how much you can work and still feel ‘full’ emotionally. I have found that mindful meditation is incredibly helpful in bridging that gap in my own life. I certainly recommend that physicians begin practicing mindfulness as part of their self-care routine.”

Take Charge of Your Own Health by Going ‘Back to the Basics’

If you ask most physicians about the health advice they give their patients, two dominant themes emerge: diet and exercise. But in their personal life? Studies have indicated that as physicians work increasingly long hours, physical activity is erased from their daily routine. [2] Additionally, physicians experiencing burnout are more likely to describe themselves as overweight or obese than are physicians who do not report burnout symptoms. [1, 3]

“It’s something we all already know, but the most important thing you can do to improve your health is to simply return to the big two: diet and exercise,” said Ferdowsi. “Watch your overall calorie consumption, eat more fruits and vegetables, and get up and exercise—even if it’s just going for walks.”

Papariello agrees, and adds the recommendation that busy physicians exercise first thing in the morning. “I get up at 4:30 in the morning to go biking,” he said. “Otherwise, I know it wouldn’t happen. Previously, I worked upwards of 12 hours per day, seven days a week. By the time I got finished for the day, there was just no way I was dragging myself to go work out. But when I bike in the morning, I actually get to enjoy it again.”

Enlist a Support Team

As a physician, you frequently make decisions that affect your patients, your practice, and everyone on your healthcare team. But who helps you take an objective look at your own health and well-being?

Ferdowsi highlighted the importance of relying on a solid relationship with another healthcare provider: your own physician. “Make sure you have a good primary care physician, adhere to the age-based recommended schedule for testing, and if you feel like something might be wrong, don’t put off going to see your doctor. We don’t talk about this nearly enough, but as you age, you become increasingly at risk for developing symptoms associated with low testosterone levels. See your physician if you notice elevated fatigue, decreases in muscle mass, and a loss of interest in activities you usually enjoy.”

In addition to your primary care provider, Papariello adds that family members can be invaluable in helping physicians check in on whether their current arrangement is meeting their needs.

“When I worked such long hours, I was unhappy with my schedule but was too exhausted to do much to change that,” said Papariello. “My move to working as a medical director was actually due to my wife. I came home late one Monday and learned that after seeing an ad for a job that looked like a good fit, she had set me up for an interview the next day. I jumped at the opportunity and haven’t looked back since. Now I certainly don’t advocate that everyone go become a medical director, but I would suggest that you keep an open line of communication with those who know you best.”

Daily Health Tips for Busy Physicians

Health and fitness advice can often be nuanced and complicated. Drs. Ferdowsi and Papariello recommend keeping it simple and adding a few of these behaviors to your daily routine for a measureable improvement in your overall health:

Considering a change in your practice schedule or setting? Search our open locum tenens job opportunities and build your career around your ideal work-life balance.

Sources

  1. Helfand BK, Mukamal KJ. Healthcare and lifestyle practices of healthcare workers: do healthcare workers practice what they preach? JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173:242-244.
  2. Liang, J. J. (2014). Diet and Exercise During Cardiology Fellowship Training. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 64(16), 1755-1757. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2014.08.026
  3. Medscape, Physician Lifestyle Report 2015.

The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact: What Does it Mean for Locum Tenens Physicians?

The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC), originally introduced in 2013, was first used to issue multistate medical licenses on April 20, 2017. The most-hailed Compact benefit is the lessened turnaround time: physicians are able to complete one online application to become licensed in as many participant states as desired. For providers practicing near state borders—and especially for locum tenens physicians who travel across state lines for work—the IMLC offers a convenient way to expand their services, providing freedom and flexibility to physicians and increasing overall access to healthcare for patients.

The Licensure Compact: Fast Facts for Locum Tenens Physicians

Benefits: The compact greatly increases the ability of locum tenens physicians to travel and provide quality medical care where patients need it most. Consilium is committed to matching our partnering physicians with locum tenens opportunities that best meet their specifications—the IMLC helps ensure that location will no longer be a barrier to helping you find your best professional fit.

Eligibility: Physicians must hold a full, unrestricted medical license in a state that has adopted the IMLC. In addition, you must live or work in your State of Principal Licensure (SPL), or “home state.” For more information on eligibility requirements, visit www.imlcc.org.

Cost: The IMLC Commission will charge one $700 fee for your State of Principal Licensure to conduct your background check. You will then pay state-specific fees for only the states in which you plan to practice medicine.

Interested in working a locum tenens position in a Compact state where you are not yet licensed? We’ve got you covered: in most cases, Consilium will reimburse the state fee for any new Compact license you obtain specifically for one of our opportunities.

The Process: You will complete the online licensure application with your home state, which will then be used to qualify you to practice medicine across state lines. What to expect:

  1. Complete the online licensure application for your State of Principal Licensure.
  2. Your home state will then verify your information and conduct a new background check for a fee of $700. You should receive results within several weeks.
  3. After receiving clearance, you will be sent a Letter of Qualification from your home state.
  4. You can then choose to become licensed in as many participating Compact states as desired.
  5. Submit state-specific licensure fees for your selected states—your additional licenses should be issued within a matter of days.

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= IMLC Passed; Implementation Delayed
= IMLC Member State Issuing Licenses
= IMLC Member State Issuing LOQs and Licenses
= Compact legislation introduced

Interested in locum tenens opportunities in IMLC states?

Call Consilium at +1 (877) 536-4696 and ask for the recruiter for your area or complete our convenient online form.

Ask a Hospitalist: What Should You Know Before Working Locum Tenens?

If you haven’t worked locum tenens yet, you probably have a lot of questions. What are some of the pros and cons? How might locums work impact your personal and professional life? Is locum tenens the best fit for your current goals?

Three of Consilium’s partnering hospitalists provide insight from their own experience with locum tenens:

  • Dr. Backer—a pharmacist-turned-hospitalist who has experience in emergency medicine, outpatient community health settings, and inpatient internal medicine
  • Dr. H.—a hospitalist, military veteran, and chemistry aficionado with vast experience in traditional internal medicine and varied hospitalist settings
  • Dr. Saad—a hospitalist with experience in urgent care clinics, intensive care units, and inpatient and outpatient internal medicine

How has working locum tenens with Consilium impacted your life?

First, locums has given me the options and flexibility that I needed. Secondly, I really feel like Consilium considers me to be a part of their team, and they provide me with consistency. I appreciate that when my recruiter or account manager give me a call, they make sure to reiterate that they value my work. They give me this feeling of, “Dr. Backer, we consider you to be one of us.” —Dr. Backer

While I was working traditional internal medicine prior to becoming a hospitalist, I ended up going between three different hospitals—it was just too much. Locum tenens has allowed me to achieve my desired compensation while working in hospital settings that I enjoy and am comfortable with. —Dr. H.

Definitely for the better. I came to locums after being underpaid and very much overworked, sometimes putting in 16 or 18 hours of work per day. Quality of life at that point in my life was almost zero. At some point, I thought that maybe this was just what life as an internal medicine physician was like—I even considered leaving medicine completely. Locum tenens has provided me with exposure to different hospital settings and allowed me to do exactly the kind of work I love most while also rewarding me for that hard work. –Dr. Saad

What are some of the best parts of working locum tenens?

I tell you what, the best part for me is getting to travel! After that, I would say that one of the most rewarding parts is the challenge of going to a new facility and navigating that terrain. It’s really a rush to go into a new territory, figure out what’s going on, and become a legitimate, trusted part of that team. –Dr. Backer

Personally, I have very specific financial goals. Locum tenens allows me freedom and flexibility while also providing me with an avenue to meet those goals. Locum work is also a really great way to keep your skills up and prevent gaps on your medical resume, which is important if you plan on applying for a permanent hospitalist position at some point. –Dr. H.

Before working locums, I worked at a hospital in addition to an urgent care clinic after my hospital shifts were complete. My pay during that time was less than what I made while working way less as a locum. Now, when I finish my shift, I’m done. I can go home and rest without having to worry about after-hours pages, and if I want to take a vacation with my family, I have the freedom to do that.—Dr. Saad

What should I know before working locums?

It takes a certain mentality to work locum tenens. In reality, your job exists at every single hospital in the United States, but to thrive as a locum you have to be bold enough to believe that you can fit in and provide excellent care anywhere.—Dr. Backer

Depending on where you live, it might be difficult to find a locum position close to you. If you want to travel the country a bit that’s probably great for you, but after I had a family, that made less distant positions a more desirable choice for me. It all depends on what you are looking for. –Dr. Saad

As I mentioned before, locum positions can help prevent gaps on your resume and help you maintain your procedural skills. Just be aware that when you do apply for a permanent position somewhere, the hospital hiring process will require that they follow up with every facility you worked with previously.

That isn’t a problem per se, but it does create a little extra leg-work for the hospital. So if you do plan on taking a permanent position, I would recommend that at the very beginning of your career, you either choose primarily long-term locum assignments or consider signing a hospital contract after a few years and work those shorter locum assignments as a supplement for a while.—Dr. H.

Advice you would give to prospective locum tenens providers:

Be very direct about what you are comfortable with as far as your desired location, facility setting, and compensation. Your account manager cannot find you the best fit if he or she does not know what you are looking for. Secondly, go into any position with the mindset that you are part of the team and you are going to do your absolute best work. If you go in with this mentality that you are ‘just a locum,’ or just covering that shift for a paycheck, you are setting yourself up for failure. –Dr. Backer

Ask your account manager for as many details on the facility and assignment as possible, and then get absolutely everything in writing. That protects you and helps you schedule your work appropriately. For instance, if I know that a facility really only needs me for 8 weeks and probably will not extend the contract, I want to be able to plan for my next assignment. –Dr. H.

If you anticipate needing verifiable income (such as for buying a house) within the next year or so, talk to your recruiter about more long-term locums contracts. Ask if your locum company can include in your contract—or even a separate statement if necessary— the number of shifts you will be working per month as well as the anticipated equivalent minimum annual salary. That way, you will have something concrete when you seek financing for a new home or a potential business venture. –Dr. Saad

Want more details on our panelists’ experiences with locum tenens? Read more about Dr. Backer in Locum Tenens Provider Spotlight: Hospital Medicine is Both a Science and An Art.

Interesting in working with Consilium? Search locum tenens opportunities for hospitalists

Locum Tenens Provider Spotlight: Hospital Medicine is ‘Both a Science and an Art’

Dr. Farnel Backer, one of Consilium’s partnering hospitalists, has taken on diverse medical roles and gained experience in numerous practice settings throughout his career. He credits his experience in multiple medical settings—including five years in pharmacy—with much of his success as a physician.

Why did you become a physician?

I was actually a pharmacist first, but I decided that my real calling was to be at the forefront of healthcare decision-making for patients.

What made you decide to become a hospitalist?

I have worked in a number of different settings, and when I eventually made my way to hospitalist work it just felt like the right fit.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I like the pace, the amount of input I have in making patient health decisions, and the results I get to see after working with patients for a short amount of time as compared to outpatient settings. I get to watch patients improve and then become healthy enough to go home. That’s what really keeps me going.

What do you feel is the most challenging part of hospitalist work?

Much more so than before—and I think many of my colleagues would agree—there is consistent pressure from case managers and social workers to discharge patients. We constantly have to make decisions that impact patients’ lives, both financially and in terms of health, in addition to affecting the hospital’s readmission rates.

It’s a balancing act: we of course can’t discharge patients until they are stable, but we also have to balance whether they can work with an outpatient physician and expect similar results or whether they really should stay another couple days so we can get to the bottom of the cause and get them well more quickly.

What is one of your favorite parts of working locums?

I tell you what, the best part for me is getting to travel. Aside from that, I honestly enjoy the challenge of going to a facility that is chaotic in the beginning. Within a couple of days, I get to figure out what is going on, how to fix it, and really begin to feel like part of the team. I like the fact that I can step into this new place, a completely new territory, and get the lay of the land and function despite the challenge. That’s the high point for me.

What are some of the challenges of working locum tenens?

It can be challenging to start working in a new facility where people know that their current procedures are not working, yet they are reluctant to implement simple changes that would really improve their processes and—as a result—patient care.

What is something you have learned while working locum tenens? Did anything surprise you?

Honestly, what surprised me most was the sheer need for locum tenens providers. After that, I’d say I’m surprised about how great my experience has been—and that I’m still working locums! It has been unbelievably good.

I will say this though: locum tenens is not for everyone. It takes a certain mentality. If you aren’t bold enough to believe that you can fit in anywhere, locums isn’t for you. For me, I truly believe that as long as I have patients and a stethoscope, I can navigate everything else. The politics, technology, bureaucracy…that’s all just noise. I am there to treat patients.

What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective locum tenens providers?

I actually have two pieces of advice, one for working with your locums company and one for when you go to work.

First, make sure that you are frank about what you are comfortable with in terms of facility setting, location, and compensation. If your account manager knows what you need, he or she is much more able to find you an opportunity that you are happy with.

Secondly, whichever facility you go to, look at yourself as part of the team, like you belong. If you go into a job with the mentality that you are “just a locum,” or that you’re just going to do a job and get a paycheck, you are setting yourself up for failure and I promise that you will end up being unhappy. I tell people to go in thinking, “I own this place, I belong here, and I am going to go in and give it 110%.”

Remember, you work in medicine: your job is at every single hospital in the United States. Whenever you step foot in any hospital in this country, your footprint is going to stay. If you can remember that, you will protect your reputation, the hospital will benefit, and your patients will receive high-quality care—that’s the bottom line.

Is there anything in particular that facilities could change or improve to make locums’ experiences better?

My advice to hospitals is similar to what I tell new locums providers: treat locum tenens hospitalists like a true part of the team. For permanent physicians, it is in your best interest to treat us as if we are “one of you,” so that we can produce like you, meet expectations like you, and provide patients with excellent care just like you are expected to. The moment you start to believe someone is “just a locum,” you hinder their capability to give you 100% of the dedication that they can and should be providing.

At the end of the day, locum tenens providers often have experience in numerous different facilities, diverse practice settings, and even in different medical roles. We’ve been around the block a bit more than average, and we often have additional perspective on what processes are effective and what could be improved based upon what we’ve experienced. Given that, expectations should actually be even higher for locum physicians than they are for the permanent providers. I believe that in many situations, our knowledge is not being tapped nearly enough.

Why did you choose to work with Consilium? How did you first hear about us?

Kyle, my recruiter, called me about a position. He was very positive and just sounded like a go-getter, and he was very straightforward with me about the job details. Soon after that, I was on the phone with Jason, my account manager, and he filled in the rest. They gave me the information I needed to know without sugarcoating it or leaving anything out. I have had other locums companies call me and ask me to work but then refuse to give me important details (such as the facility location) unless I agreed to work.

For me, if you don’t trust me to act like a professional, then we don’t need to work together. I feel like Consilium showed trust in me as a person and a physician, and that made it a lot easier to trust that they would be the right company for me.

How has working locum tenens with Consilium impacted your life?

Jason and Kyle have really made me feel like Consilium considers me as part of the team. I really appreciate that. Maybe a month ago, I got a call about a job and they made sure to tell me that they appreciate my work and asked if I would be at Hospital Medicine 2017 in case they could meet me in person. They make me feel like my work is valued, as if they’re saying, “You’re one of us.”

Another thing Consilium does really well is provide consistency with the people I talk to. If I talk to someone at Consilium I don’t know yet, it’s when Kyle or Jason has already made an introduction so I’m not on the phone thinking, “Who is this person?” Forewarning is very important for me—it makes everything easier when I already have this established relationship.

What is one of your most memorable experiences as a physician?

Wow, there are so many… But you know what, I had a great experience just the other day. I was working in the ICU when I heard a woman say, “Hey you, come here!” I was sitting there thinking, “Who is this lady calling me,” but I walked into the room anyway. She asked if I remembered her, but I could not recall her face.

She said, “You took care of me three years ago. I remember you because of how encouraging you were when you took care of me.” Now, I have no idea what I said to her, but I do know that she must have been feeling vulnerable and helpless at the time and when I came in and spoke with her, that’s what she remembered about the experience. She gave me a big hug and thanked me, and it just made my whole night.

Medicine is both a science and an art. I believe that providing treatments to patients—though it’s what I went to school for—is actually the easiest part of being a physician. I diagnose diseases for a living, so that’s not that impressive to me personally. But when I can truly relate to a patient on a human level, that’s what really brings me joy. When I get to that level where patients trust and understand me and believe that I genuinely sympathize with them and their situation, I would say that I have reached my mountaintop. And that is priceless.

Interested in putting your medical expertise to work with Consilium, or in finding locum tenens professionals to provide coverage at your facility? Give us a call at 877-536-4696.

Provider Spotlight: Consilium Through the Eyes of a Well-Traveled Locum Tenens Physician

Locum Tenens Provider Spotlight: Dr. Sima Assefi

Locum Tenens Dr. Assefi and Landon Webb
Dr. Sima Assefi & Landon Webb

On December 29, Consilium had the honor of hosting Dr. Sima Assefi, one of our partnering locum tenens physicians, for a talk about her experiences as a locum provider. Immediately following the presentation, Consilium partner and regional vice-president Landon Webb presented Dr. Assefi with Consilium’s first ever Distinguished Service Award. During her time with Consilium, Dr. Assefi has worked more than 4,000 hours at 22 urgent care centers and has treated more than 12,000 patients from rural areas. Completely aside from the life-changing work she does on a daily basis, Dr. Assefi has an inspiring personal story all on her own.

Though born in Tehran, Iran, Dr. Assefi attended secondary school in Kent, England, following political unrest—and eventual war—that necessitated she and her sister flee their home country. After completing secondary school, Dr. Assefi moved to the United States and earned her undergraduate degree in natural sciences from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. While in college, Dr. Assefi worked in bakeries, as a third-shift dispatcher at a taxi company, and later as a waitress and bartender to pay her way through school and help support her younger brother, who was still studying in the U.K. Upon her brother’s graduation, Dr. Assefi was then—at the age of 33— able to enroll in Eugenio Maria de Hostos Medical School in the Dominican Republic.

After completing her residency in family medicine and an extra year of OB/GYN training in the United States, Dr. Assefi took a permanent job in family medicine. She had been contacted by Landon about an urgent care position, but felt at the time that she did not have the necessary urgent care experience to take on that role. Unfortunately, soon after starting her permanent contract, Dr. Assefi was diagnosed with cancer and had to leave the new position while she underwent treatment. Following successful treatment, Dr. Assefi found that her previous role had been filled and instead took a permanent urgent care position at the insistence of the clinic’s medical director, who assured her that she was more than qualified for the position.

To add another twist in the road, that facility made the decision to close due to insufficient profits and Dr. Assefi was faced with yet another career change. Fortuitously, in early 2014 Landon again called Dr. Assefi at what she says was exactly the right time. This time, after beefing up her experience in urgent care, she was eager to accept Consilium’s offer.

Q: Why do you choose to work locum tenens?

A: Locum tenens allows me to practice medicine as I deem best. There is so much red tape in permanent positions, a whole lot of “Do’s and Don’ts” that do not always result in best possible care for each patient. Locums work provides me with more freedom to use my best medical judgement when working with patients. To me, everybody’s story is different, and a patient’s story influences the best method of treatment. I refuse to view patients as just “cases” that can all be treated with a one-size-fits-all approach.

Working as a locum can be lonely at times because you are always the new person and have not yet built rapport with the permanent staff. This is part of why it is so important to have an account manager who truly cares about you as a person, so that you always have someone to call if you need help or just a listening ear. One upside to coming into a new position as an “outsider,” however, is that you do not have to deal with any of the internal gossip that happens in the facility—it never involves you!

Q: Out of all the job offers you undoubtedly receive, why have you continued to choose Consilium time after time?

A: It’s really about the people. For me, it is the relationship I have built over time with Landon, my account manager. I love the fact that I have personal contact with ONE person who I can call or text while I am away from home and can get a response to any questions or concerns—or even just to vent if I need to. Landon works with me throughout each step on all of my assignments rather than me having to call or email several different people for issues with scheduling, vacation time, paychecks, or anything else that may come up. Landon has been my friend—and really like family—throughout my dealing with winding roads, unfamiliar surroundings, hectic shifts, and anything else life threw at me along the way.

I also believe Consilium chooses good places to send their locums providers. I like the facilities where Consilium has placed me—each clinic has taken good care of its doctors. Physicians get a lot of calls about locum tenens jobs, and we can tell the difference between salespeople who are only calling because they have to and those who genuinely care about our mission and about us as people. I genuinely believe that Consilium has our best interests at heart.

Q: How has working locum tenens with Consilium impacted your life?

A: Because of the greater flexibility in scheduling, I have been able to achieve my vision of the ideal work-life balance: I work hard, but I get to play hard too. For example, I can schedule six shifts all in one week instead of spreading them out over two weeks, which leaves time to attend CME (continuing medical education) conferences and travel the country a bit while I am at it. The flexibility also allows me to take vacations and see my family overseas, which generally is not possible with a permanent contract. After not being able to see my family for seven years during the war, this is incredibly meaningful to me.

I work very hard, but as a locums physician I have simultaneously been able to live. Through Consilium, I am able to continue the work about which I am passionate yet also live and love my life. Furthermore, if something is ever not working for me, I always have the option of change.

 

Interested in putting your medical expertise to work with Consilium, or in finding locum tenens providers to cover shifts at your facility? Give us a call at 877-536-4696.