Tag Archives: Locum Tenens Provider Spotlight

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:

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.