Locums abroad and at home: How one physician was able to carve out more time with family

Dr Dayton and staff of Te Hiku Hauora

After working in private practice for over 20 years, family medicine physician Dr. Elizabeth Dayton decided to leave. She wanted a more flexible work schedule that also allowed her to travel and spend more time with her wife, Rachel, and adult children.

“I was a little burned out with my schedule,” Dr. Dayton says. “I was working too many hours and was having a hard time knowing how it would even be possible to change that in my current practice. I was worn out and ready for a change.”

Leaning into a new challenge

Dr. Dayton shares that quitting her job and trusting that locum tenens would be both fulfilling and a financially sound decision was a scary one. “It was a little intimidating for me to quit my long-term job to do locums, but I feel it’s been one of the best things I’ve done in my life,” she shares. “Life is short, and getting different experiences is invaluable to me. So I’m really glad I did it.”

Pull quote - quitting long-term job

Since Dr. Dayton was already familiar with locum tenens and how it worked, she began her search for a locums agency that one, had international assignments, and two, had domestic assignments to work between her international work. That’s how she landed on Global Medical Staffing.

First-time locums in New Zealand

Not shying away from a challenge, Dr. Dayton went to New Zealand for her first locum tenens assignment. “That assignment was eight months. I just fell in love with New Zealand and the people there, the practice, the lifestyle, and the schedule,” she says.

One thing that left an impact on her was the people of New Zealand. “They’re wonderful and warm and so grateful to have physicians because there is a shortage there. So, I was helping to fill a need, and that always feels good, and patients are very grateful for that.”

Dr. Dayton continues, “There was very much a sense of community in the clinic. I felt that all the physicians worked very well together, and probably half of the physicians working in the clinic were locums from just a variety of backgrounds. And so, I met so many interesting people who had done so many interesting things. It was really rewarding to practice medicine with them.”

Dr Dayton's wife, Rachel
Dr. Dayton’s wife, Rachel

Working in a smaller community on the North Island gave her and Rachel the chance to live on the beach, swim, and walk every day. “I just enjoyed the beauty of New Zealand, which is hard to even convey in words. I liked it so much, I took a second, six-month assignment there and planned to go back.”

Locum tenens in a time of hardship

Dr. Dayton’s plan to return for a third assignment in New Zealand was derailed when her wife, Rachel, was diagnosed with cancer. “Because I work locums, I was able to take about six months off to be with her through surgery, chemo, and radiation,” she says. “So, I’ve been able to be home for a year to be by her side.”

Fortunately, Dr. Dayton says, since Global Medical also has domestic locum tenens assignments, she was able to continue to work after her six-month hiatus and pick up an assignment in the nearby town in Nampa, a suburb of Boise, Idaho.

Dr. Dayton explains, “I would work for five days and take nine days off. That worked great during Rachel’s recovery because I could still earn money. I was still practicing medicine. I loved the clinic where I was working, and it just really worked well for my life, with my wife being sick.”

Working with Global Medical for both domestic and international locums

“A big advantage of working with one company is that whenever you take a new assignment, there’s a lot of credentialing and paperwork that goes into it,” she says. “Since they already have all of my information, that takes much of that off my plate. Anytime you have to reestablish with a new company, you’ve got to provide so much information, and it takes a lot of time. Global has been making working locums easy.”

Pull quote - advantage of working with one agency

Having the ability to work with the same people for all her assignments has given Dr. Dayton the opportunity to get to know them well — and they, her. “My recruiter and team have just been such an advocate for me, and I’ve really, really appreciated how they’ve supported me and my family,” she says.

Not only does working with one agency make the paperwork simpler, but it has made accommodating her family easier. “They arranged housing and visas for my spouse and my daughter when I went to New Zealand,” she says. They even helped Dr. Dayton’s spouse through the process of getting a work visa and making sure they had everything they needed to manage the country’s pandemic regulations. “Because I went over there during Covid, that was a big deal to be able to get [my wife] a slot in managed isolation. I feel like I know my Global recruiters well, and I think they’re extremely helpful.”

Locum tenens for the foreseeable future

“I feel like I’m enjoying my life more,” Dr. Dayton says. “I have a lot more balance in my life, a lot more time for family, and I’ve been able to travel and see the world. It’s been really lovely. I thought that locums might be a good temporary thing for me, but now that I’ve done it, I think I’m going to continue with locums until I retire.”

Interested in learning more about international or domestic locum tenens? Give us a call at 844.917.4663 or view today’s physician locum tenens job opportunities