Dr. Kay Hooshmand, who works in occupational medicine urgent care and has been practicing for 11 years, took a locums position with Global Medical Staffing last summer in Great Falls, Montana. By working as a locums she was able to spend the summer in Montana and give her daughter a unique experience living in an area that was very different from their home in Los Angeles.
Dr. Hooshmand has found that the first locum tenens assignment may have its ups-and-downs, but with the right recruiter you can have a great experience regardless of where you go. Right now, she’s working in Visalia, California. “We just asked to extend here because my daughter loves her school and the job is a good fit,” she says.
Here’s what Dr. Hooshmand had to say when we asked her about life as a physician and her experience working locum tenens in Montana.
Q: Why did you decide on medicine as your career?
A: I grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania and my dad was a small-town doctor. I really liked the patient-doctor relationship. My dad’s patients were really grateful. I got to see the good side of medicine.
Q: How was working locum tenens in Great Falls?
A: The beginning was a little rough, but it ended up working out.
Q: What did you like about being in Montana?
A: I love the outdoors and nature. In medical school I had a National Parks Pass and set up rotations at different hospitals near a national park. I hiked the Grand Canyon from the top to the bottom, across the base and then up to the other side. I went to Zion and Bryce in December and went camping in the snow with a friend. I really love the outdoors.
Montana is one of those places I had heard talked about in such a reverent way. I knew that my friend living in Montana and her family go to Yellowstone every year — that’s why I picked Montana. I knew that my daughter and I could live out in the country. Where we were living in LA, I was paying $3,000 in rent, and my daughter’s private school was $2,000 a month. I was treading water financially. In Montana on locums, we stayed in a hotel and then moved to a smaller house on a ranch paid for as part of the locums contract. It was the amazing experience that I was hoping for.
Q: How did your daughter enjoy your locum tenens experience in Montana?
A: She loved it. While we were in Great Falls, we would go and wade through this creek all the time. She never would have stepped foot in a creek in L.A. because of pollution. I had a babysitter and she took my daughter to the farmers market and pony riding, and we met a neighbor on a horse ranch. My daughter got to see horses every day. She was 3 years old when we were there and could walk out, play in the neighbor’s yard, and come back, and I didn’t have to worry about her.
Q: How is it different treating people in rural areas compared to L.A.?
A: There’s a huge shortage of physicians here in Visalia and in Montana, so the patients are very appreciative of doctors.
Q: What advice do you have for other physicians thinking about working locums?
A: Traveling is much easier than you think, and people are more accepting of you than you expect. Pick a good company with a good recruiter. I would say nine out of the ten recruiters that contact me are not interested in finding a good fit, so choose your recruiter carefully.
Q: What do you like about Global Medical Staffing?
A: Global has a very good relationship with the employers. They also understand what makes a good fit and only offer me those positions.
Kari Redfield is a professional content marketing writer. She also is a novelist and writes for newsstand magazines and has had work appear in publications such as Arizona Highways, Sedona Magazine, and American Fitness. And like the locums physicians profiled in these stories, she loves the flexibility and new experiences that her unique job provides, and loves to travel. She has been known to spend weeks in the U.S. West in her Aliner, checking out classic trad rock climbs, epic mountain bike rides, and other adventures while writing from the road.