PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT; LOCUM TENENS;  my job


Locum Tenens basically identifies a temporary job for doctors and physician assistants. In the nursing field it is called "Per Diem" or day work. In the non-medical world, just as 'temps'
The photo to the right was taken of me on a locum tenens in Falfurrias, TX

When someone wants to go on vacation, gets sick, or is off having a baby, usually someone has to take their place. Larger facilities may have multiple providers employeed and they can absorb the extra work load, but small clinics don't have anyone to fill in.
Another problem which is becoming more common is when a provider (doctor, physician assistant or nurse practioner) suddenly quits and walks out without warning, then a temporary replacement is required until a full time replacemtment can be located. A process which almost always takes at least 3 months.

I have been performing locum tenens for the past 14 years and have worked in a multitude of fields, including Primary care (family practice); Occupational Health; Pediatrics; Urgent Care Clinics; Emergency Rooms; Pain Management; VA hospital/outpatient clinics; US Army Troop Clinics and Prison health care.

Locum Tenens jobs can last from from 4 hours in an afternoon to 6 months. Even longer if one has a penchant for torture, I consider more than 6 months to be a permanent job, as does the IRS.

Through the years I have accumulated and maintain licenses in 6 states including  California, Florida, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. (that is alphabetical not cronologically) Maintaining all of them is somewhat expensive, but one of the last things my mother said to me was, "Johnny, don't ever let your license expire". That, as she was writing a check to renew her nurses license one week before she passed away. Her license arrived a couple of weeks after her death.

As one might expect, this type of work requires a lot of travel and long periods of time away from home. Not exactly suitable for a married person.
I knew a PA who was married to a nurse and they attempted to travel together, him as a PA and her in the nursing field doing  per diem. It worked sometimes, but finally failed in divorce.

The most difficult part for me is keeping up with my mail and paying my bills.
Email and internet banking has really helped, but it remains a problem.

Living quarters can be a problem. I spend a lot of time in motel rooms.
If I am going to be at a location 3 or more months, I try to get a small apartment to live in. Less expensive and much more comfortable.
There have been times when rural hospitals have put me in a hospital room. I quickly identified that as unacceptable and will not accept a job where that  is required.

Then there is the travel, I roll up a lot of miles on my vehicles. Hundreds of thousands of miles. I easily put in excess of 100,000 miles on a car before I get it paid for.

However, I enjoy this type of work and as I have always enjoyed traveling it suits me just fine.
I get to meet and work with lots of different people and get to travel to new places on a regular basis with lots of off time in between jobs to practice being reitred!
Most importantly in this category, if I find myself working with someone I cannot tolerate, or in a town that is just plain miserable, I can always see the light at the end of the tunnel and know I will be gone from there shortly!



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