Physicians work long and strenuous hours. In addition to earning potential, many decide to practice medicine because they want to help others. However, the pangs of American healthcare are burning out physicians. One recent study found nearly half of U.S. physicians are experiencing burnout. Similar to the old story about the cobbler's children needing shoes, those who work in medicine need better focus on their own condition. Of course, finding the time for yourself can be difficult, especially if you work in a high stress setting such as an emergency room or critical care center.
Finding the Balance
Physicians want a better work-life balance; however, rigorous schedules and hundreds of patients make that virtually impossible. It's vital for physicians to work hard and provide excellent care to their patients, but they also need time away from their patients. A doctor who is routinely working 60-hour weeks runs the risk of burnout, negatively affecting his or her patients.
Finding time to focus on hobbies and relaxing activities is challenging, but essential, and there's a good way to do it.
Life as a Locum
Locum tenens enjoy a diverse experience. Instead of only one facility, they work for an agency sending them to destinations across the country. This affords doctors the opportunity to not only experience different environments, but also to meet and work with a wide range of people. You will also have the chance to learn new techniques and procedures from your peers. Working as a locum tenens physician is rarely a boring experience.
An added benefit of working locum tenens is the ability to set and design your own schedule. When you first consider a locum tenens opportunity, you work with the agency to set a schedule right for you. Choosing your own hours is one of the best ways to achieve work-life equilibrium.
It may seem more stressful to work temporarily at one site before moving on to the next rather than staying in one place; however, research has shown changing your working environment can reduce stress and increase job satisfaction.
Life is full of change and growth, and a career as a locum tenens physician offers the opportunity to experience these changes in a stable way. Yes, you'll be moving between cities and facilities, but you will also have a job and an impressive steady income. Locum tenens truly enjoy the best of both worlds.