Some doctors describe international locums as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, others grab the kids and take them on a series of international jet-setting adventures, and still others embrace it as their new lifestyle. However doctors can fit it in, all of them call their international assignments amazing adventures.
Here’s what four physicians love most about international locums.
Physician: Dr. Jason Lambrese
- Specialty: Child/adolescent psychiatry
- Most recent assignment: New Zealand
Dr. Lambrese loved doing his international locum tenens assignment because it gave him and his husband a chance to experience New Zealand thoroughly, something they didn’t have time to do while visiting on vacation.
“Locums was an excuse to get back there. The timing was perfect after six years of residency and fellowship to take a gap year before a more permanent job. We did so much traveling. I love that I didn’t have to work the weekends and could travel. By the end of it, we were traveling every weekend.”
Dr. Lambrese also loved the adventure of locums. “I got to see and do a lot, and we could put the real life stuff on hold because there really wasn’t much stuff to do out there except work, travel, and pay a few bills. I had that freedom to adventure and to explore a lot more than I give myself time to do here. That was great.”
He also enjoyed getting to work in a different healthcare system. “I was placed in a community mental health clinic in South Auckland, and I liked that work and that we were serving a more marginalized population,” he explains. “I felt more needed. And I liked that I was working with a very diverse population. There were a lot of Maori families, so I got to learn the culture. I feel like being in the community clinic allowed me to feel like I was doing more good than maybe I would have otherwise.”
Physician: Dr. Raymattie Singh
- Specialty: Hospitalist
- Most recent assignment: Bermuda
Dr. Singh loves doing international locums so much that she has embraced it fully, and plans to continue taking international locums assignments for the foreseeable future. One reason she treasures this lifestyle is because she feels a special strong bond with the other international locums doctors and healthcare providers, and has made many lifelong friends.
“It takes a special doctor to do locums,” she explains. “I feel connected with these doctors who have different dreams than the typical U.S. trajectory. Creating lifelong friendships with people from all walks of life has rejuvenated my soul.”
Dr. Singh also loves locums because she gets to explore new places and foods, and constantly learn about other cultures and healthcare systems.
“When I started traveling to strange places and working as a physician, I was unbelievably happy. Be fearless and dare to walk the unbeaten path,” she urges other physicians. “I feel like I learn a lot about each practice while doing international locums. I am excited about trying new foods and seeing new things, exploring, finding the hole in the wall places.”
Physician: Dr. Zach Pruhs
- Specialty: Rheumatology
- Most recent assignment: Guam
Dr. Pruhs took his whole family, including his wife and kids ages 10 and 7, along on his international adventure because he wanted to give everyone the chance to immerse themselves in new cultures in an intimate way.
“Our kids are really good travelers and have been a lot of places already, and this was great fun,” he says. “It’s a great adventure, with travel to a lot of places, and with the kids in school in Guam. The payoff has been fantastic.”
Physician: Dr. Lisa Seeber
- Specialty: Family medicine
- Most recent assignment: New Zealand
Dr. Seeber took an international locums assignment in Taihape, New Zealand, for two years starting in 2017. For the trip, she took along her husband and eight kids (ranging from 3 to 12 years old). The kids are all home schooled, and the Dr. Seeber and her family have gotten to travel, explore, and learn about other cultures.
“We really wanted to introduce the kids to new places and cultures and expose them travel,” she explains. “We’ve gone up the east coast and the north coast of the North Island. You can’t believe how pretty it is — rolling hills everywhere you go. We’ve gone surfing and are going to the glowworm caves. We’ve spent a lot of time on beaches. There’s no place in New Zealand where you’re far from the beach.”
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.