“This is some of the most relaxed living I’ve had in a long time,” Dr. Stanley Greens admits. Dr. Green began his locums life soon after he finished his residency as a hospitalist in 2016. For all but about six months of the ensuing years, he’s worked with Weatherby Healthcare as a locum tenens physician at hospitals in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Although he lives in Florida, Dr. Green says his commute is more than manageable with a seven-days-on, seven-days-off schedule. In fact, he says his patients are often surprised and grateful he would travel just to treat them.
“People feel like I take the time to listen, to talk to them,” Dr. Green says. “They appreciate that even though I’m not a permanent member of the staff at the hospital that I can still provide the kind of care that they would expect from their local hometown doc.”
Relationships are an important part of locums life
There’s another side to locums work Dr. Green loves.
“People will say that you can’t establish relationships but that’s totally untrue,” he says. “I’ve been at the hospital that I’m at now for six months. I’ve established a lot of strong relationships there.” He adds, “Clinically, if you stay in any hospital system for more than a month or two you start seeing the same patients.” Also, other hospitals he’s worked at often request he return.
His locums work is helping him meet an important goal. “The opportunity that locums affords me is one where I can make a bit more money. I’m family medicine trained and if I came out and started in an office setting, I wouldn’t be able to make the extra money that I’m making now,” he explains.
Originally from South Africa, Dr. Green plans to use his greater locums earnings to help pay off his school loans faster. Once he does that, he plans to return to South Africa and practice. “South Africa and other places in sub-Saharan Africa are in much more of a crisis situation,” he says.
His long-term plan is to continue to work as a locums physician three to four months of the year in the United States, and then practice in South Africa where he will be able to afford getting paid little or nothing.
Locums life appeals to early career physicians
Dr. Green says he’s seeing more and more early career physicians choose a locums lifestyle but he still encounters plenty of questions. Do they send you to “dumpster fire hospitals”? No. Have you ever felt in danger? No. Do they overwork you? No. Green says while he’s heard some physicians have had those experiences with other companies, he’s never had that problem with Weatherby. “Weatherby seems to vet their hospitals pretty thoroughly,” he says.
As a locums hospitalist, Dr. Green feels he is a better advocate for his patients because he never has to worry about interoffice politics.
“The only thing that really matters to me is the quality of the patient care,” he says. “I can focus purely on the patients.”