Category Archives: Locum Tenens Physician Staffing

Consilium Staffing provides Locum Tenens services to hospitals and healthcare facilities. We place physicians on a tempoary basis.

Locum Providers Solve Holiday Staffing Shortages

Whether you’re a provider looking for seasonal career opportunities, or an administrator searching for a timely staffing solution, locum tenens continues to be a popular choice during the holidays.

At the heart of locum tenens is efficiency. As the holiday season approaches, locum tenens providers and the facilities that book them benefit from the flexible nature of the profession — as do the patients and communities they serve.

Facilities: Locums Brings Efficiencies 

In the last year, 90% of healthcare facilities have used a locum professional, and the trend shows no sign of stopping.

The most advantageous benefit for having locum providers is the ability for a facility to adjust its staff at a moment’s notice. This is because vetted locum providers are ready and able to step in with very little lead time, making short-term decisioning possible.

“The holidays are a crazy time for everyone especially when you are scrambling to find a healthcare provider to fill in for last minute holiday coverage,” explains Brent Burrows, Divisional Vice President and Partner, Consilium Staffing. “We’ve been very successful in securing holiday coverage for our clients to ensure their patients and communities aren’t left underserved. During the 4th quarter of 2019 Consilium Staffing saw a 23% increase in days booked for locum providers over the same time period in 2018.”

Overall, staffing efficiencies save resources by reducing redundancy, or in the case of a shortage, relieve overburdened on-staff providers. Locum providers are regularly the go-to solution for staffing gaps, and provide management with valuable expertise when permanent staff takes off for holiday vacations or personal time.

Providers: Why Locums Is the First Choice 

For providers looking for extra income, locums assignments can be a lucrative way to go. Data shows that many locum providers can make up to 50% more than permanent providers, which can be invaluable to those working to pay off student loans and medical school debt.

The flexibility locums providers enjoy refers to more than just picking when to work – it also includes where to work. Locum providers have the choice to work in a variety of practice settings, from an urban ER to a rural clinic. And depending on the assignment, locum providers may also be able to experience an array of different specialties, giving them access to new and different colleagues, patient groups, and knowledge sharing.

Providers also choose a career in locums because there are significantly fewer administrative burdens. Most required paperwork is handled by the employer, and each assignment comes with defined roles, pay, and expectations. This clarity helps the locum provider do the job with precision so they can meet expected outcomes.

Tip: Get Started Now 

Locum providers and assignments will be popular over the holidays, which is why Burrows advises getting started now. “Many healthcare providers are actively looking to work additional time over the holidays,” he says, “and they often book well in advance.”

A people-centric healthcare staffing firm like Consilium Staffing can help you get the licensing and credentialing processes moving, and set you on the path for true success with locum tenens.

Contact Consilium today for more information about locum tenens placements.

Great Minds: The Rising Demand for Psychiatrists

Medical providers are the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the media focus has largely been on those helping patients overcome the physical symptoms of the disease, psychiatrists are also rolling up their sleeves, helping patients find their way to mental wellness.

With an estimated 46 million adults in the U.S. battling mental illness, psychiatrists have long been in demand, and experts predict a shortage of 15,600 professionals by 2025. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the situation, casting a spotlight the necessity of hiring locum tenens providers to fulfill patient need.

COVID Creates Complex Issues

The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a new set of complications that prove to have a dramatic impact on mental health. Issues related to loss of income, isolation, loneliness, depression, job stress, anxiety, and fear of getting sick can be devastating. Approximately 53% of adults who participated in a Kaiser Family Foundation Tracking Poll in July said that stress and worry about the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health. As a result, many of these individuals reported issues ranging from difficulty sleeping to alcohol and drug abuse.

With more people in need of treatment from mental illness, the more desperate the shortage of psychiatrists has become. Issues like long appointment wait times and shorter sessions are a detriment to patients, and increased workload leads to provider burnout. As a result, not only are psychiatrists necessary to augment existing staff, but now even more are required to give full-time providers a much-needed break.

Crossing Rural Roads

While psychiatrists are in short supply around the nation, the gap is even greater in rural and underserved areas. For these patients, barriers to healthcare include the inability to find transportation, long distances from homes to providers, and lack of medical insurance. Locum tenens positions empower providers to go to far-reaching communities, bringing relief to those who would otherwise not receive treatment.

The Cure for Provider Shortages
Around the nation, 96% of counties have a shortage of psychiatrists. Locums providers can be the solution to filling the shortfall. Across clinical settings and states, locums providers are comfortable stepping in for a specified timeframe, and then moving on when the assignment concludes.

Amy Gentile, Divisional Vice President and Partner, Behavioral Health, for Consilium Staffing,  said locum tenens psychiatrists can be a smart, sustainable solution for adequately staffing facilities that face a provider shortage.

“Before starting in the locum tenens industry, I worked as a Master Level Therapist with clients who suffered from both substance abuse and mental health diagnoses.  I saw firsthand the importance the role of psychiatry plays in the quality of life for so many individuals,” Gentile explained. “Having a career in locum tenens has offered a unique vehicle to continue my passion for impacting patients’ lives by providing access to psychiatric care.”

As the pandemic carries on, the need for psychiatric care continues to climb. Locums providers can be the voice on the line bringing expertise to hospitals and facilities – and offering treatment and comfort to the patients they serve.

Learn how Consilium Staffing can assist with your locum tenens healthcare staffing needs

Veterans Day Spotlight: A Life Spent Delivering on America’s Promise to Veterans

Photo: This handmade presentation case, sent to Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 10454 in Grapevine, Texas, contains an American flag and an Afghan flag flown in Afghanistan in honor of Lisa Holmes. Also included was a note: “Sirs: please present this to Lisa Holmes, from the Soldiers of Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan.” The gold inscription reads, “Lisa Holmes, Thank you from the Veterans.”

As we commemorate Veterans Day, Consilium Staffing would like to recognize the work of Lisa Holmes, Consilium director of government services, who has dedicated more than thirty years to supporting United States veterans and active duty military.

Lisa Holmes means it almost literally when she says that her heart for veterans is just part of her DNA. With her extensive family military history—relatives on each side of Holmes’ family have fought in every American war from the Revolution to Vietnam—Holmes has never known a life unaware of the pride, pain, and continuing sacrifice that comprise the aftermath of military service.

That legacy is part of why Veterans Day has been a meaningful, if bittersweet, event as far back as she can remember.

Photo: Holmes’ parents in France, 1956. Holmes’ father served in the Korean War. His brother—Holmes’ uncle —was an Air Force lieutenant colonel who served in World War II, the post-war occupation of Berlin, and the Korean War, in addition to two tours of duty in Vietnam. Both men enlisted in honor of their father’s service in the Spanish-American War. Holmes’ two brothers served in the Air Force during the Vietnam era.

“Veterans Day has always been a big deal in my household,” Holmes said. “I have vivid memories of the parades, big flags flying off our house, and old stories recounted by my grandfather, still the larger-than-life paratrooper right down to the boots he still wore on November 11. And truthfully, I wouldn’t even be here had World War I not happened.”

Holmes’ grandparents were introduced by her great-uncle John Vincent McGee, or “Vin,” when he insisted that his sister meet the war buddy with whom he had been instant friends (Holmes’ grandfather). Just as he’d hoped, the two hit it off and soon became a couple. Unfortunately, while serving in the trenches during World War I, Vin had been poisoned with mustard gas, a chemical agent that causes severe blisters on the skin and inside the lungs.

“That mustard gas just ate him alive,” Holmes said. “Uncle Vin didn’t live long after the war. He had all these hopes and dreams—including owning his own potato chip company—that he never got the chance to pursue, and he never got the benefits he was promised. I don’t ever want that to happen to another veteran, and I’ll do anything I can to ensure that it doesn’t.”

For Holmes, virtually her entire career has been a means of furthering that goal. From 1983-1993, she served in Germany as a government service contractor for the United States Department of Defense (DoD). Holmes was responsible for ensuring that military units received all the supplies they needed—an especially important job in times of war. Holmes continued traveling between Germany and the United States to support the commands as needed until 2011.

Photo: Holmes accepting an award from Lieutenant General Pagonis in Kaiserslautern, Germany, upon his return from the First Gulf War

In 1998, after moving back to the United States, Holmes was offered a position with the quasi-governmental agency National Industries for the Blind (NIB), which creates federal career opportunities for blind individuals. The NIB is classified as a “mandatory source,” meaning it has legal priority when federal entities determine from which companies to acquire products. Holmes, as national sales manager for the company, would travel to government facilities in her region to secure contracts for products made by NIB employees, ensure compliance with the law, and work to get suppliers on board with their mission.

Holmes recounts the story of meeting a young man whose NIB job was to make the 3M wound tape used by the military. He was 18 years old and had been blinded in a farming accident the year prior when a rock flew up and blinded him in both eyes.

“He gave me a tour of the workshop and proudly showed me their new break room, which was decorated with newspaper clippings about the military going back many decades,” Holmes said. “When I asked him—without thinking—about the stories on the walls, he said, ‘Ma’am, I will never be able to serve my country. But I will help all I can, and this is how I am going to do it.’ All I could think was that this kid was willing to give as much as he could for his country, yet there were people showing reluctance to buy his product? Nope, not on my watch. It was at that moment that my work became a mission.”

Photo: Holmes with Barbara Bush in 1998 while working on behalf of the NIB

In 1999, after the NIB underwent a vertical realignment (meaning that each individual would be in charge of a federal agency instead of a geographic territory), Holmes was told she would be tasked with selling to Veterans Affairs facilities exclusively.

“I was so upset at the time,” Holmes said. “I had a long history with the Department of Defense and suddenly I was being shifted to Veterans Affairs, which had a terrible reputation at the time. We had all heard stories of bad things happening at VA facilities, and soon my name was going to be associated with that. But I sucked it up and did my duty despite everything, and I am proud that I was able to make a difference.”

“Every time I walk into a Veterans Affairs hospital, I see evidence of my work.”

Photo: Working with VA officials Cojean Sprouse and Norbert Matyniak on behalf of the NIB, November 2000

Holmes, who believes strongly in selling face to face when working with government agencies, established the very first VA optical shop run by a blind agency. Even more impressive, she eventually brought 75% of Veterans Affairs facilities under one procurement contract, a feat that was nearly unfathomable at the time.

“I rattled a lot of cages back then,” Holmes recalled. “My work was not always embraced because there was just a certain way things were done. All these alliances had already been formed, and here I was upsetting the apple cart. There was one time in San Diego, after I had landed a significant contract, that a woman actually came up to me and spit in my face. It was a tough slog at times, but I just kept pressing on.”

In 2001, Holmes received a call from Corporate Express (now a Staples company) with an offer to work as their federal sales director. After being promised that the company would automatically switch to products made by blind or handicapped workers—and would categorize the government as a prime vendor—Holmes agreed. Her new role allowed her to travel to approximately 75 different divisions and ensure that federally mandated products were stocked and sold in a manner compliant with the law.

Photo: April 2003, with representatives from the Hines VA Hospital and The Chicago Lighthouse, a social service organization that provides Veterans Affairs facilities with assistive technology for individuals who are blind or visually impaired

“I was able to do a lot of good in that position, and I always tried to get people on the same page instead of using the law to bully anyone into doing the right thing,” Holmes said. “I also met a lot of people while I traveled, which enabled me to help get supplies where they were needed in emergencies, including 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.”

During Hurricane Katrina, it was Holmes’ company that had the only warehouse—complete with supply trucks—left standing in the area. As a result, they were able to support the entire Gulf with supplies from a procurement cell set up in North Texas. Through her travels, Holmes also happened to have met the man who owned the only warehouse in America with enough towels and blankets that met the strict government requirements for use by FEMA.

However, Holmes said the employee in charge of the warehouse refused to open the doors. With no time to waste, she went right to the top: Holmes made a call to the owner, who just so happened to be a Marine veteran with two Purple Hearts.

“Ken drove down there with a bolt cutter, sliced through the padlock, kicked open the front door, and started loading trucks himself,” Holmes laughed. “And he had that first truck loaded and in Dallas—all the way from Georgia—in about 12 hours. I told my boss we should stage FEMA trailers preemptively so they would already be loaded and ready when the next disaster hit. It took a while to implement because of all the regulatory hoops, but that is a program that still exists today.”

In 2004, Holmes also was asked to run for a board seat with the American Logistics Association (ALA), an organization that was exclusively male at the time and, coincidentally, had strongly discouraged her membership in the 1980s (according to Holmes, the European chapter was quite reluctant to consider including women). When asked what the position would entail, Holmes was told she would go to Congress and lobby incessantly for the MWR (shorthand for the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation program) benefits that military members were supposed to have earned by virtue of their service.

Photo: 2003, at the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers Conference, sponsored by the MWR Program, Corporate Express, and the U.S. Army

Holmes won the board position and served from 2005-2008. However, on one of her visits to the capitol, Holmes said she was given very disturbing news.

“One of my associates informed me that the transfer cases—which hold the remains of soldiers killed in action—were being ransacked en route from Iraq to Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany,” Holmes said. “I was horrified, but I also knew there was a fix. I was determined to figure out who was doing this.”

Modern radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology was still relatively new at the time, but Holmes knew that it held the key to determining when the cases were being opened—and thus, by whom. Thanks to that suggestion, and a connection with someone who knew the technology, Holmes said the culprit was apprehended soon thereafter.

“That was personal to me,” Holmes said. “And it wasn’t a business deal or anything that I profited from—nor did I need to. I simply provided a solution and connected people who could work together to implement it.”

To Holmes, her career is best summarized as a quest to find innovative solutions to pressing problems, whatever those may be.

“There was one time in 2005 that I took a very big risk on behalf of the United States Army,” Holmes said.

She had received a call from an Army contracting officer who asked for a large number of toner cartridges, a seemingly innocuous request. However, two commercial planes had been blown up at that airport two days prior, and the military was asking for the equivalent of about $6 million of printer ink. If she sent planes chock-full of supplies and they were subsequently destroyed, the loss would not be covered by insurance. With that great a loss, her company itself would have been at risk.

“I had to take a step back in my heart and evaluate the impact of my decision,” Holmes said. “It was a huge risk, but they needed those supplies and they knew who to call to get them. After a short hesitance, I said, ‘Yes sir, we will have it there—and your boys will protect my plane.’ He replied, ‘Yes ma’am,’ and that’s exactly what happened. I had effectively opened a supply chain from Europe into Iraq in theater, and that was when our guys rolled up and took over that airport.”

After moving on from Corporate Express in 2007, Holmes brought her federal procurement expertise to several other mandated sources, most recently a service disabled veteran-owned small business based in Atlanta. By 2011, however, Holmes felt that her time dealing with products exclusively was coming to a close.

“At some point, I realized that I was just plain tired and decided to take some time off,” Holmes said. “I was developing my patent at the time (editor’s note: Holmes currently holds the U.S. patent for anti-microbial cards), but I needed to figure out what else to do with my spare time. I decided to put up a sign at my local VFW and offer assistance for veterans who needed transportation to doctors’ appointments at the VA.”

Holmes soon found herself not only transporting but actually accompanying veterans to their appointments. Several of her passengers had suffered traumatic brain injuries in combat and were unable to remember physician instructions, so Lisa sat in and took notes.

“During that time, I saw things that I had never even imagined as a vendor,” Holmes said. “I was incensed about the way our veterans were being treated, and I thought, ‘Boy, this is not what America thinks is going on here.’”

Around that time, Holmes received a call from Consilium Staffing.

“My journey to Consilium was very fortuitous,” Holmes said. “My interest was piqued as soon as I heard they worked with qualified healthcare providers across the country. I realized I could play a small part in protecting veterans by ensuring they get the best healthcare possible.”

Under her direction, a mere six months after being awarded its federal supply schedule, the Consilium Government Services Division won a $40 million contract to place quality healthcare providers in U.S. Army facilities.

Holmes recently attended a Concerned Veterans for America town hall meeting with Senator Ted Cruz, during which Cruz invited Holmes and Consilium executive vice president Matt Baade to Washington, D.C., to present solutions to existing problems in the delivery of federal healthcare at Veterans Affairs and military medical facilities. While in Washington, Holmes also met with Jan Frye, deputy assistant secretary for acquisitions and logistics at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“It was an honor to present solutions to problems that have plagued federal healthcare for so long,” Holmes said. “The current level of care that many of our veterans receive—which I see first-hand when my husband requests care at the VA—is truly in violation of the commitment we made to care for them after they came home.”

Photo: Holmes and husband Jon at the 2014 Military Order of the Purple Heart parade in Grapevine, Texas

Holmes and her husband Jon, a Vietnam War veteran, are active in a number of veteran advocacy organizations. Jon currently serves as Senior Vice-Commander for the Department of Texas Military Order of the Purple Heart and as the State Inspector for the Department of Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Photo: Holmes with Staff Sergeant Ty Michael Carter—recipient of the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, and numerous other military awards. Holmes wears a replica Purple Heart necklace (pictured right) in honor of her husband’s sacrifice and as a reminder to everyone she meets that “freedom is never free.” The necklace was a birthday gift from Jon, who also presented her with the Purple Heart he received after being wounded in Vietnam.

“I live by one motto, summarized beautifully by John Adams’ assertion that ‘Our obligations never cease but with our lives,’” Holmes said. “That, to me, is what it means to be a patriot, to be an American: you support those who defend our country, and then you protect them when they come home. That is a duty I get to fulfill through my work with Consilium.”

Get more information about Consilium’s work in the government sector or learn more about opportunities to provide healthcare for veterans and active duty military members and their families

Locum Tenens Provider Spotlight: Success in Medicine Against All Odds

In her work with Consilium, Denise Willis currently sees patients at a correctional facility in Virginia. Throughout her career, she also has provided care in settings that include rural health, family medicine, urgent care, occupational medicine, internal medicine, geriatrics, behavioral health, and pharmacy.

If you were to enumerate the challenges on the path to becoming a pharmacist, academic lecturer, and physician assistant, chances are that list would not include half the obstacles faced by Denise Willis, Consilium physician assistant and poster child for persistence and determination.

“I never thought I would make it this far, to be quite honest,” Willis said. “I always wanted to succeed, and I was willing to do whatever that required, but there were many times it seemed impossible despite my dedication. Sometimes I still can’t believe I made it through.”

Willis, who was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, said she had been captivated by the study of medicine from the time she was a young girl. Some of her earliest memories consist of walking down to the corner drugstore with her father, where a pharmacist everyone called “Doc” would let her come behind the counter and try pronouncing the names of the medications in stock.

“As a child, I read everything I could get my hands on,” Willis said. “My mother used to laugh at me for it, because it didn’t matter if it was the back of a bottle of detergent—I was going to read it. Afterward, I would write down the names of the ingredients and try to figure out what each one was and what it did.”

Though the earliest years of her childhood were marked by some degree of normalcy, that had changed in a big way by the time she turned 7. Her parents split up and her mother fell very ill, leaving a very young Willis with the responsibility of caring for her younger siblings. When she was 12 years old, her mother succumbed to her drawn-out illness—which turned out to be cancer—and Willis was placed in the foster care system.

“It was difficult, and I do think my childhood experiences have a lot to do with my chosen career path,” Willis said. “I had that innate curiosity and passion for medicine, yes, but I also saw up close what it means to have—or not have—adequate medical care. My youngest brother had a lot of health problems too, and those sorts of experiences just stick with you for the rest of your life.”

Despite her circumstances, Willis—determined to succeed—excelled in school. She completed college and then attended the Temple University School of Pharmacy in Philadelphia, where she was able to follow in the footsteps of “Doc,” who had first sparked her interest in pharmacy all those years ago. Bringing full circle those formative walks down to Doc’s clinic, as a young adult Willis also reconnected with her father, who revealed that Willis had a number of relatives whom she had neither met nor heard of as a child. Willis and her husband—who were already considering a move further south—met the long-lost Virginia branch of her family and soon decided that was exactly where they wanted to be for the foreseeable future.

“It’s crazy thinking about it now, but I truly didn’t have a reliable support system until I got married to my husband,” Willis said. “Having my father back in my life has made such a difference, and it has been just wonderful to suddenly have family by my side.”

Willis moved to Virginia in 1989, and since then has worked as a pharmacist, pharmacy supervisor, in-house department educator, preceptor for pharmacy and pharmacy tech students, and as a lecturer at the junior college and university levels.

“I even had my own pharmacy for a while back in the ‘90s, which had always been a dream of mine,” Willis said. “It only lasted a few years—up until a chain pharmacy opened right across from us—but I am proud that I was able to achieve that goal even if it wasn’t in the cards long-term.”

By the late ‘90s, Willis had decided that she was just not passionate about pharmacy the way she had been before—she wanted the opportunity to better connect with patients and have a direct hand in their care. To best achieve her ideal patient-provider relationship, she set her sights on becoming a physician assistant. She enrolled in the Master of Physician Assistant (MPA) Program at Eastern Virginia Medical School, a program that aligned with her belief in providing inclusive, patient-centered care and fostering strong clinical and community partnerships.

When asked about her most memorable moment as a PA, Willis said there is one patient in particular who she could never forget. He was working as a custodian, and upon their meeting it was visibly clear to her that something was very, very wrong.

“This gentleman had severe, severe jaundice, and it was obvious even with his dark complexion,” Willis said. “His eyes, lips, fingertips, overall hue…all of it was just ‘off.’ I asked him to please, please see a doctor as soon as possible.”

Instead, the man came to see Willis, who he trusted would help him get the care he needed. He said he had seen a physician several months prior who—despite clear lab results—had not provided any answers or assistance. The patient’s gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT)—a chemical that might normally be around 60 units per liter (U/L)—was measured at more than 2,000 U/L. Lo and behold, further testing soon determined that the man had cancer.

“I could not believe that it took so long for him to receive treatment,” Willis said. “But because he agreed to come in, he lived much longer than he would have otherwise. I actually discovered that one day several years later when he recognized me at a local grocery store and ran up to thank me. He looked just wonderful, and I’ll never forget the stark difference compared to the first time I saw him.”

Given her vast experience in an array of clinical settings, Willis had been familiar with locum tenens for a number of years, even working an agency assignment as a pharmacist at a Minnesota Indian Health Services facility. Despite positive prior experiences in temporary pharmacy assignments, she was initially wary of taking on locum tenens assignments as a physician assistant.

“If I had to give one piece of advice to other providers who are on the fence about doing locums, I would say to just try it,” Willis said. “It’s not a permanent move if you don’t want it to be, so why not? I hesitated at first because I didn’t know what the experience would be like as a PA—I wish I had made this leap much earlier.”

Despite her lifelong love for learning (and resulting tendency to eagerly take on new opportunities), Willis says she is at a point in her life where she would like to “slow down a little bit,” which is part of why she appreciates the ability to set her own schedule. Willis has partnered with Consilium since 2014, and she specifies flexibility and her working relationship with Landon Webb, her account manager, as reasons she plans to stay with Consilium long-term.

“I stay with Consilium not only because I believe in the company mission, but also because I have truly been enriched by my interactions with everyone I have spoken to,” Willis said. “I know I can always call Landon with anything I might need (even after-hours!), and that’s a huge comfort. It’s just easy with Consilium, and I will never forget the care they showed me after my accident this year.”

In June of 2017, just before starting another assignment with Consilium, Willis had been in a car wreck that resulted in a severe concussion and left her unable to work for nearly two months. She cites the care shown by Consilium team members as a source of support during a very difficult time, serving as further confirmation that she is exactly where she was meant to be.

“They never pressured me to come back before I was ready, and I knew that their concern was for me as a person, not just as a provider,” Willis said. “They worried about me, they called to check on me, and they prayed for me. All of that really meant something to me. When I was ready to work, I called Landon and told him it was time to give it a try, and we jumped right back in where we had left off. My work begins with patient care, and I truly believe that at Consilium, they start with care for their providers. I plan to stay with Consilium for a long, long time.”

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 providers:

What it’s Like to Work at Consilium Staffing: The Proof is in the Pizza

If there’s anything we advocate in our approach to company culture, it’s the concept of “work hard, play hard.” Here’s how it looked to be part of the Consilium team in Q3 2017:

Fourth of July

 

 

 

Each year, we celebrate the Fourth of July with a company potluck (with barbecue provided by Consilium) and informal patriotic attire, during which time we all look a bit like Captain America for the day.

Representing Consilium From California to Louisiana

We had quite the number of jet-setters this summer: during Q3, we sent representatives to San Diego, San Antonio, and New Orleans to represent Consilium at annual conventions that included the NACHC Community Health Institute, Psych Congress, and AAFP Family Medicine Experience.

(Even better, we acquired this stunning portrait of Vice President of National Accounts Hamilton Doty and Regional Vice President of Client Sales Billy Bowden. This might just end up on our Christmas cards.)

Q3 WIN Celebrations

Consilium holds a monthly WIN meeting to recognize individual, team, and company milestones, of which there were many this quarter!

Congratulations to our nine team members who earned promotions in Q3:

  • Amber Adkins— Senior Recruiting Consultant, Primary Care North
  • Brandy Cook—Senior Client Consultant, Primary Care Southwest
  • Shadley Hawkins—Director of Account Management, Behavioral Health South
  • Charlotte Kirkpatrick—Senior Corporate Recruiter
  • Kade Massingill—Senior Client Consultant, Behavioral Health South
  • Courtney Pryor—Corporate Recruiter
  • Keeley Puicon—Senior Recruiting Consultant, Behavioral Health South
  • Allie Purnell—Senior Account Manager, Primary Care Midwest
  • Ryan Saunders—IT Support Technician

Kicking Labor Day Weekend Off Right

After a record-breaking month in August, company partners announced a surprise early release on Friday, September 1st, to jump-start the Labor Day weekend. To keep productivity—and towers of empty pizza boxes—high, we also were treated to a company-wide pizza party for lunch on Thursday afternoon (rumors abound of team eating contests, but our lips are sealed).

Business Casual Attire—What NOT to Do

We embrace a business casual dress code at Consilium. In a nutshell, that means sharp enough to present as professionals and casual enough that we don’t feel like we’re attending an 8-5 Easter Sunday service. On Fridays, however, we get to wear jeans—just make sure not to emulate director of recruiting Ricky “Two-Shoes” Moses:

National Locum Tenens Week

August 14-18, 2017, marked the first ever National Locum Tenens Week, which recognizes the contributions of temporary healthcare providers across the nation. For our participation in the event, we took to the streets of downtown Dallas to interview passerby on their knowledge of locum tenens.

Locum Tenens Week, Day 1: What IS Locum Tenens, Anyway?

Never heard of locum tenens? You aren’t alone!

Locum Tenens Week, Day 3: “Wait, What Did You Say?”

It’s “locum tenens” as you’ve never heard it before (seriously, they pulled out all the phonetic stops).

Locum Tenens Week, Day 5: The Future of Locum Tenens

(Disclaimer: contrary to what our entertaining volunteer Grant thinks, locum tenens has absolutely nothing to do with alcoholic beverages.)

Women in Leadership

Consilium embraces a company commitment to invest in the personal and professional growth of each team member. In Q3, that included a presentation by founding partner and regional vice president Amy Gentile, who spoke on her journey to Consilium, some of the realities of being a woman in business, and how the company helps support Consilium women as they seek to advance in their careers.

Consilium Cares

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which caused unprecedented destruction right down I-45, Consilium Cares was able to gather four large boxes (plus one small box stuffed full of baby supplies) of donation items from Consilium team members. A huge “thank you” goes out to everyone who pitched in to help, on behalf of your Consilium Cares team!

Pictured: some of the donations collected by Consilium Cares on Day Two of our drive, including baby diapers, dog and cat food, non-perishable food items, and socks for children and adults

Consilium in the News

Physicians Practice

Congratulations to Dr. Days, one of our family medicine physicians, whose advice was featured in this Physicians Practice piece on part-time opportunities in medicine.

VoyageDallas Magazine

Want to learn more about the Consilium story? Check out our interview in VoyageDallas Magazine, which features founding partner and EVP Matt Baade on his own journey to Consilium.

 

Interested in joining our team? Check out our current career opportunities

Family Medicine Practitioners as Everyday Humanitarians

A message from John Moberly, partner and regional vice president at Consilium Staffing:

As our team geared up to head to San Antonio for the Family Medicine Experience (FMX), it was impossible not to think upon the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey throughout South Texas so recently. As a Texas resident myself, I cannot exaggerate the impact of this disaster, which has directly affected the family and friends of so many people in my office.

What has really struck me during this time is the eagerness of so many healthcare providers to help, whenever and wherever they may be needed. Consilium has had dozens of physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners—many of whom do not even work on a locum tenens basis—nevertheless offer to take time off from their full-time jobs to provide care for the victims of this tragedy. We spoke to professionals from across the specialty spectrum who were moved to provide assistance, with about half of those offers coming from family medicine practitioners.

For me, that just speaks to the character of healthcare providers as people. I have such respect for the selflessness that your profession requires, and I am beyond grateful for the spirit of those who have chosen to dedicate their life to serving others, regardless of the sacrifices required.

I do a lot of work within the primary care sphere and I cannot say enough about the impact that family medicine physicians make on communities and the well-being of the people therein. Some of the most moving discussions I have had with providers give testament to this fact. A physician told me once, “You know John, I am three generations into my practice,” and I honestly cannot think of a higher compliment than being entrusted to provide care for entire families, from newborns to aging grandparents. That speaks volumes on who my partnering physicians are, as professionals and as people.

I view my mission, and the Consilium mission, as an extension of yours: together, we can help provide care to patients who otherwise would not be able to receive care in their community. When I connect a locum tenens physician with a healthcare facility that has been searching for a doctor for so long, I feel like I’m making a real difference, like I am truly working for the greater good.

In the hustle and bustle of healthcare law, ever-changing regulations, and (seemingly never-ending) congressional debates, I know that it can be easy for people to lose sight of what it is that physicians really do every day. But if you are attending FMX, even if you aren’t interested in working locum tenens, I urge you to at least come by Booth #1565 and meet our team—if nothing else, we’d love the opportunity to thank you.

John Moberly
Partner, Regional Vice President
Consilium Staffing

If you are a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner interested in working locum tenens, or in adding your name to the list of those willing to help in areas affected by the hurricanes, get in touch with Jason Smith, regional vice president of account management:

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:

5 Signs Your Locum Tenens Company “Gets” Community Health

If you’ve worked in community health for any length of time, you’ve almost certainly dealt with the realities of being short-staffed. In fact, at any given time, 95% of community health clinics are operating with at least one clinical staffing vacancy, with about two-thirds specifically seeking a primary care provider, per a report issued by the National Association of Community Health Centers[1].

Permanent physician recruiting tends to be a lengthy, costly process, and many healthcare administrators turn to locum tenens to ensure that their patients are seen in the meantime. But how do you find a locum company that 1.) cares about your specific needs; 2.) understands the distinct challenges you face; and 3.) shows consistent dedication to finding the best possible fit for your facility?

If the following sounds like your experience, it’s a pretty good bet that you’re working with the right people:

  1. Your consultant places your needs over his or her own interests. During your consultation, your Consilium consultant will obtain a thorough understanding of your need (without trying to persuade you to sign on for unnecessary specialist coverage).
  2. Your consultant and account manager are knowledgeable about working with community health facilities, including the needs of your standard patient population, the federal parameters you must work within, and what qualities indicate that a provider will be a great fit for your facility. Among other factors, we know our physicians must value health education and cultural competence to provide the best possible care for your patients.
  3. The process moves quickly. With Consilium, you can expect consistent follow-up from your account manager and required paperwork will be returned promptly, even if we have to handle matters outside normal business hours.
  4. Your more challenging openings aren’t neglected. We get that sometimes it will be more difficult for you to find a provider for clinics in smaller, more rural cities. You have our guarantee that we will make our best effort to find the right person for the job—no matter where it happens to be.
  5. You are consistently treated as though your clinic is a top priority. Because you are likely part of the community in which your clinic provides care, staffing choices have an impact close to home: we know that the providers we send your way may be providing care to your friends, neighbors, and family members. We commit to treating your staffing needs with the urgency they’re due, so those closest to you can get the care they deserve.

Looking for physicians, physician assistants, or nurse practitioners to fill open shifts? Complete our locum tenens staffing request form

Attending the 2017 NACHC conference in San Diego? We’ll be there! Whether you currently have staffing needs or just want more information, come by and visit Billy Bowden and Hamilton Doty at Booth #420.

 

[1] National Association of Community Health Centers (2016). STAFFING THE SAFETY NET: Building the Primary Care Workforce at America’s Health Centers (Rep.).