Tag 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:

5 Ways to Improve Patient Outcomes with Plain Language

Her doctor told her that her electrolytes were off, and then she worried how he knew her electric lights were off.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 12 percent of adults have the skills needed to effectively manage their health and prevent disease. Patients with limited health literacy:

  • Have a hard time taking medications as prescribed, interpreting labels and health messages
  • Have higher rates of hospitalization, emergency care visits and lower rates of immunizations
  • Know less about health as they don’t understand health information as well
  • Are more likely to report poor health
  • Seniors, in particular, have worse health, quality of life and earlier mortality

And because they’re more likely to be embarrassed about asking questions, it’s up to healthcare providers to make sure they understand.

Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, M.D. emphasized the importance of health literacy in 200 of his 260 speeches in office. According to Dr. Carmona:

  • “The health of our country depends on our understanding of basic health information in order to lead a healthy life.”
  • “Healthcare professionals do not recognize that patients do not understand the health information we are trying to communicate.”
  • “We must close the gap between what health professionals know and what the rest of America understands.”
  • “Health literacy can save lives, save money, and improve the health and well-being of millions of Americans.”

To improve patient outcomes, one of the initiatives of The Affordable Care Act is to provide more clear information to patients. The most common barriers to health literacy include:

  • Medical terminology, such as pandemic, immunize, transmit, influenza and prevalence
  • Reliance on print communication as patients have different styles of learning
  • Focusing too much on information instead of what patients should do
  • Limited awareness of cultural differences in language and word meanings

Imagine if you could improve patient outcomes by simply speaking in “plain language” when you talk with your patients. How can you be better understood?

1.  Start by asking yourself:

  • What’s the most important thing that you need to communicate to your patient?
  • If you had to pick one thing that you want your patient to walk away with, what would that one thing be?
  • Could your mother or neighbor understand you?

2.  Use “plain language“:

  • Simple, short words and sentences
  • Language in an active voice
  • Important information first, using everyday examples to explain medical terms the first time they’re used
  • “Chunking” or talking about one thing at a time
  • Bullets to share a list of information in written communications

3.  Include pictures or diagrams.

  • The simpler, the better.
  • One picture can be worth a thousand words.

4.  Speak your patient’s language.

  • Respect cultural differences.

5.  Communicate in a way that your patient will participate.

  • Give your overweight patient a nonperishable food item and ask them to read the food label, telling you how many calories are in each individual serving.
  • Ask your patient questions to see if they understand.

Doctors are just like everyone else, no one is born with good communication skills. But with the Affordable Care Act, it’s now the law to learn to provide more clear health information.

Just make sure what you say is simple, clear, understandable, accurate and something your patient can use or take action on.

“Tales from the Road” A locums journey

For the past 18 years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the finest doctors that the medical field has to offer.   The stories they have shared with me about their locum tenens experience have made me laugh, made me cry and sometimes both in the same story.  One thing is for certain, when they share their experiences with me, they are sharing a piece of their lives with me and I appreciate every moment of it.

I’ve often wondered what it’s really like to step into a completely different hospital, clinic, practice, state, city or town and spend the next few weeks or months of your life there.  Some of the doctors I have worked with receive birthday cards every year from the people they have met along the way.  Some curse me and threaten to never work with me again if I even mention certain previous assignments.  OK, yes, that’s probably a little extreme, but you get the point.

What does strike my imagination is to consider the thought that perhaps the varying degrees of experiences are actually not that far apart after all.  Could it be possible that some of the locum tenens assignment “train-wrecks” were only just a couple of weeks away from becoming a really great experience, but assignment ended just a little too soon?

I think about the 1991 movie, “Doc Hollywood”.  Yes, 1991 is going way back, so here is a quick recap:  Michael J. Fox has just finished his residency program and is headed to the West Coast to join a financially lucrative practice.  Along the way, he causes a major accident with his sports car which happens to cause a lot of damage in this small rural town.  When he appears in front of the judge, he has no money to pay for any of the damages, so the judge sentences him to provide free healthcare (pro-bono) to the people in this small town.  Of course, Michael J. Fox is horrified at the thought and the townspeople are not too thrilled either.  However, after a series of events such as people trading pigs for his medical services, him learning “common-sense” medicine from the local doc, the town grows on him and he grows on the town.  In one scene, the local mechanics claim that the parts to repair his foreign sports car still haven’t come in.  The truth is that the parts came in weeks earlier; they just don’t want him to leave now.  Ultimately, Michael J. Fox decides to stay in this town after he falls in love and feels truly appreciated.  Of course, this is just Hollywood, right? That never happens in the real world of locum tenens. Or does it?

This is where your story comes in.  I want to know your story – good, bad, or otherwise.  Someone once said, “Truth is stranger than fiction….”  Send your story to me and let’s find out!

My email address is: [email protected]

I have also added a link to the Consilium Staffing webpage which is specifically formatted for you to share your story:  Tell us your Locum Tenens Story

I’m looking forward to hearing your story, thank you in advance for sharing yours with me.

Written by John Moberly Vice President and Partner for Consilium Staffing.


What Makes a Good Locums Company?


Good Locum Company

With any subjective question like this, if you ask 10 qualified people, you’ll probably get 10 relatively different, but acceptable, answers. However, if you speak to enough people, you can see a pattern forming at the surface. Certain truths or best practices work their way to the front; and you realize that a question like this really isn’t subjective at all…

As I’ve built relationships with countless clients and providers over my 7 years of locuming, I’ve asked this very question to myself and to others. I’ve asked it often. And not just to clients and providers, but many people in various roles. What follows are the 3 most common responses I’ve received over the years.

1. Communication

A good locums company communicates effectively with every single person involved. The whole is the sum of its parts, and there are many moving parts that have to all come together, sometimes in just the right order, for coverage to be secured utilizing a locums tenens provider. I can tell you from personal experience that a lack of communication from any party involved can be severely damaging. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for many of us to get caught up in the business aspect of what we do. So what’s the outcome of a breakdown in communication in the world of locums? A provider might not go to work. A facility might experience an immediate loss of revenue, and in some cases, a permanent loss due to patient migration. But beyond that, the sad and ugly truth is that in the end, the patient suffers. Not you. Not me. It is always the patient.

 2. Patient Focused

At the end of the day, everyone involved in the locums equation should have the same goal. Take care of the patient. Many times people in certain roles within a facility, and in some cases the provider too, can get too snagged on the bottom line. Unfortunately the bottom line isn’t always patient care. Getting caught up in negotiating rates and figuring out who’s going to cover travel and/or lodging costs is too easy and too common. It happens hundreds of times a day all over the country among numerous agencies. Those types of negotiations are necessary. They make sure things stay in motion. But those things are too often the entirety of the equation, instead of a function within the equation. I can tell you that the most successful and longest lived relationships between me, the facilities, and the providers have all come as a result of a patient-focused approach.

3. Solution Oriented

This one may sound like a “no-brainer” or downright common sense. But when I say solution oriented, I’m not referring to simply “filling an order”. Anyone can fill an order. It’s not difficult. I’m speaking about much more than that. You’ve probably noticed by now that there’s a common end-game in locums: patient care. Sometimes just filling an order doesn’t meet that end. Sometimes it takes a much more creative approach than either the facility or the provider expected.

In this industry, there is a solution to every problem. The best locums companies find those solutions.  Often times the solution looks nothing like what was originally “ordered”, but turns out to be exactly what the patients’ need. And after it’s all said and done, if patient care isn’t your ultimate goal… locums may not be for you.

Written by Tobey Decker, guest author for Consilium Staffing.

Road-Tested, Locums Approved: Tips For the Well-Traveled Locum Tenens Physician

Locum Tenens Travel Tips

Life for a locum tenens provider often means hours spent on the road or at the airport, but traveling to an assignment doesn’t have to be drudgery. By following a few simple tips, it can be a stress-free, and even fun, rewarding experience.

  • Communicate.  Aisle or window seat? Emergency aisle for extra legroom? First-floor hotel room? At Consilium, you will always have a dedicated Assignment Coordinator to handle all of your arrangements.  Let us know your preferences ahead of time. Ask for the name and number of your coordinator and build that relationship! We’re here to help you.
  • Members Only.  Enroll in airline frequent-flyer and hotel rewards programs, tell your travel coordinator about these reservations – the perks can add up to priority boarding, seating upgrades (Hello First Class!), baggage fee waivers, and hotel room upgrades.
  • Be prepared. By always keeping a suitcase packed with basic necessities, you’ll be ready to go on a moment’s notice. Keep a second set of toiletries, shoes, lab coat, chargers, pens and paper, etc. to stay ready for a last minute or repeat trip. When it’s time to go, grab fresh clothes, your laptop or other necessities, and you’re ready to hit the road or tarmac!
  • Avoid the rush. This may seem obvious to some, but all airlines now offer online check-in at the airline’s website 24-hours before your departure flight, and you can even print your boarding pass from home! Note your gate number and give yourself ample time to check bags and go through security.
  • When technology fails. It’s a good idea to print your flight itinerary, hotel address, and worksite contact information on old-fashioned paper in case your smart phone or GPS decides to go on vacation without you.
  • Phone a friend. Make sure you have the number for after-hours emergency travel assistance and your Account Manager’s direct cell number. Our goal is to make your travel stress-free, and while we can’t control everything, we do our best to be available 24/7 to assist you the best way possible.
  • Stock up. Ask for a room with a kitchenette or a refrigerator/microwave and hit the local grocery store after you check in to stock up on snacks, beverages, sandwich makings, cereal, etc. No need to hit the drive-through or an expensive restaurant every night. If you’re driving to the assignment, pack a lunch or an ice-chest with your favorites.
  • Local flavor. Ask around to find out where the locals eat. Chain restaurants can offer convenience and consistency, but you’ll be missing out on local culture or a great mom-and-pop experience.  Websites and smart-phone apps such as Trip Advisor, Yelp, and Local Eats are a great source for local eateries and attractions.  Also, ask the hotel for local delivery menus if you’d rather just hang out and relax at the hotel.
  • First day. Know your route to the clinic or hospital and give yourself ample time to negotiate traffic and find parking. Some cities are messier than others, so do some light research. Bring the worksite phone number in case you need a local’s directions. Know who you’ll be meeting with at the site for orientation.

At Consilium, we truly appreciate our road-warriors who leave the comfort of their homes to provide quality healthcare that might otherwise be unavailable to an under served community. If there is anything we can do to make life on the road easier, we want to hear from you!

Written by Jessica Ferguson Logistics Manager for Consilium Staffing.

What Kind of Locum Doctor Are You?

What Kind of Locum Doctor Are You?

We don’t mean to pigeonhole locums physicians into any one role, but there are some truisms – not stereotypes – about the medical industry. Maybe you relate to one of these characteristic doctors we’ve seen through the years.

The Resident

This provider is fresh out of residency and looking for a good fit.  They are ambitious, so in some cases accepting a permanent position can be a lot like diving into a murky lake. This practitioner chooses to test the waters before he or she accepts a permanent position, using locums as a way to experience different practice settings and/or geographic areas before making a long-term commitment.  With the locum tenens agency picking up the tab for medical malpractice insurance, travel costs, rental car, and lodging accommodations, the recent residency-graduate uses locums as a way to focus on safely starting a career (and starting to repay student loans).

The Semi-Retiree

When a provider decides that it is time to slow down the practice, the workload decreases. However, the desire to heal tends to linger. The Semi-Retiree accepts locum tenens positions to earning additional income, keep their mind and skills sharp, and to continue to do what he/she loves to do most: heal their patients. When physicians are in greater demand, the semi-retired physician finds that he/she is still in high demand and can dictate a work schedule that allows flexibility to balance the joys of retirement with the fulfillment of continuing to serve patients.

The “Site-Seer”

This physician fuses work and play in his or her life. The ability to travel and experience new places is very important to this provider. Balancing hobbies, climate, family, friends, holidays, vacations and many other reasons justify this provider’s reason to offer help in new places.  This is a true win-win for the physician who can find this blissful balance.

The Entrepreneur

This physician has his or her sights on ramping up a private practice or LLC.  Building a private practice takes time and capital.  As the practice expands, the physician engages with locum tenens work in order to supplement assets while the private practice grows.

The MVP (Most Valuable Physician)

This Most Valuable Physician desires to serve a rural or underserved areas starving for physician resources.  He or she chooses to work with a remote facility or in some cases multiple facilities at once, to assist in meeting the desperate healthcare needs of the area. Often times this provider becomes well-known and is highly valued in the community which depends on his or her presence. This provider is less concerned about area amenities and is more focused on going to areas where he/she can make the biggest impact.

The “Willing to Lend a Hand” Physician

This locum tenens physician, who we like to think of as a Samaritan, provides assistance during times when there are not enough hands on deck to deliver efficient patient care.   This is the very definition of the locum tenens physician.  One who assumes his or her post “in place of” another physician whose absence could affect patient care.

So what kind of physician are you? Perhaps you fall into more than one of these categories. Perhaps you fall into a category all your own. Tell us more about why you locum.

No matter what type of locum doctor you consider yourself to be, Consilium Staffing has opportunities to fit your needs and help you achieve your locum goals. Click here to find out more about Consilium, or call us at 877-536-4696.

Written by Byron Talley Recruiting Consultant for Consilium Staffing.