A Lesson in Adventure from Locum Tenens Clinicians

Physicians Weekly published an insightful article in late June (2019) discussing how hobbies can make doctors both happier and better at what they do. The springboard for the piece was the author’s conversation with a locum tenens clinician, a conversation in which the locum apparently described one of his most recent adventures.

That conversation got the author thinking about what he enjoys doing away from the office. More importantly, it got him thinking about whether or not he’s really making time to do those things he enjoys. His overall assessment was that people in general, and doctors more specifically, are allowing themselves to be swallowed up by their work rather than making time to make a life outside of work.

The Adventurous Locum Life

Locum tenens, as a career choice, is certainly not all sunshine and roses. Working as a full-time locum is actually more of a lifestyle than a job. It requires living a certain way that not everyone is up to. And yet, the typical locum would describe the life as adventurous. It is that adventure that drives so many to make a career out of short-term, contract work.

Locums get to travel across the country. Some travel across the world. They get to see new places, meet new people, experience new cultures, etc. Best of all, they get to leave their work at the office at the conclusion of every shift.

As contract workers, locums do not have the same obligations as private practice owners and employees. They are there to do a job within the constraints of contractual obligations. As long as they meet those obligations during each shift, they are free to do what they want outside of work.

There is a lesson to be learned here. It is a lesson in adventure from locum tenens clinicians who, through their chosen careers, have learned how to make time to make a life. We should all be doing the same.

Make Time to Make a Life

We Americans have been raised on the principle of lifting ourselves up by our bootstraps and making the kind of life we want. That is still a good principle that is as viable today as it has ever been. Yet unfortunately, too many of us have fallen into the trap of pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps only to live the life others want us to live.

There is more to life than work. There is more to life than a six-figure income and all of the material possessions meant to make life more comfortable. At the end of our lives, it’s quite possible we won’t care how many hours we put in while we were still working. We will care about the relationships we fostered and the life experiences we had along the way.

The point of all of this is to say that making time to make a life requires effort. That work-life balance we all talk about so much cannot happen on its own. It will not be achieved by attending seminars or daydreaming about it at lunch. The work-life balance is only achieved when we make a decision to make a life for ourselves outside of work, and then pursue that decision in earnest.

Locum tenens clinicians certainly live a different kind of life. Maybe it is not all sunshine and roses, but the typical locum who has learned to balance work and outside interests is an inspiration to the rest of us – that we can make a better life for ourselves if we are willing to make the decision to do so.

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Categorized as Health

By Finn

Finn Oliver Edwards: Finn, a pediatric nurse, shares child health tips, parenting advice, and preventive measures for common childhood illnesses.