Tag Archives: Work-Life Balance

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: Combining Knowledge and Intuition to Make a World of Difference

A Family Mission to Heal

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

Finding A Balanced Lifestyle with Locum Tenens

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

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

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

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

“Going with Your Gut” When it Matters Most

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More from Consilium’s partnering locum tenens physicians:

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

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

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

Why I Started Working Locum Tenens

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

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

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

Perks of Working Locum Tenens

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

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

Advice to New Locum Tenens Physicians

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

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

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

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

More locum tenens insight from Consilium hospitalists:

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

Health Tips for Male Physicians From Fellow Doctors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enlist a Support Team

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

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

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

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

Daily Health Tips for Busy Physicians

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

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

Sources

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