Friday, February 28, 2014

Considering Locum Tenens After Your Residency?

Locum Tenens after Residency

Not unlike anyone completing their education and training, physicians are faced with many decisions upon completion of their residency.  Burdened with a mountain of debt, and a desire to start producing clinical hours,  locum tenens may be an ideal situation for a new physician. 
Locum tenens jobs offer advantages that some residents fail to consider while nearing the end of their program.  One advantage to pursuing a locum tenens assignment is being able to take your time and care in selecting a practice or hospital setting.  You may have an idea of what type of facility you want to practice in, and locum tenens will give you the hands on experience without a binding contract tying you down. 

Another aspect of physician locum tenens assignments is working in a variety of communities and experiencing the area first hand.  Many residents decide on a permanent position based on compensation, or volume without fully considering the community they will be living in.  Locum tenens can give physicians the chance to both work in an area and get to know the diversity of the area without having to plant roots immediately.

Physician locum tenens jobs give residents an opportunity to earn an income and transition into an ideal position that meets or exceeds their initial desires.  Some physicians come out of residency with the idea that private practice is where they want to practice only to find that a hospital-based opportunity is more to their liking. 

Should you find your dream job while working a locum tenens assignment, transitioning into a permanent position at that facility is an easy process.   If you are working in a hospital setting, you have already completed the credentialing process which will speed up the transition immensely.  You have provided services in the facility and are familiar with the staff and you can feel confident in making a decision to take on a permanent position within the practice. 

Not only will working locum tenens give you the time to make an educated decision about your career path, you will be building your curriculum vitae and attain marketable skills along the way.  Gaining professional references and experience from a variety of locations and facilities could be an important factor in future career opportunities.

If locums sounds appealing to you, teaming up with a locum tenens recruiter is the first step in the road to a successful career in locum tenens.  Seeking out a physician recruiter with the market knowledge and experience willing to give you the personal attention needed to make an appropriate match is imperative.  Research an agency that has a reputation for providing personal service with a reputable staff.  Many locum tenens recruitment firms will guide you through the credentialing process and make a transition into locum tenens job assignments a seamless task.  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Physician Stress: The Perfect Storm

Blending a healthy personal life with a career in emergency medicine can be challenging. Long hours, stressful working conditions and the heavy-hand of insurance companies and hospital administrators all conspire to demoralize even the most dedicated ER physician. The rate of suicide, substance abuse and divorce is three times higher among physicians of all kinds than the general population and there is some evidence these negative life experiences are even more prevalent among emergency room doctors.  

This should come as no surprise. Patients usually enter the emergency room in a state of crisis. They are either admitted or released but in no sense are they ever as “happy” or “satisfied” as patients who leave the hospital after giving birth, for example, or are successfully treated by another specialty in a non-emergency setting. Emergency medicine physicians can either distance themselves emotionally from such pain or empathize with it, which is probably the more common approach.  However, empathy carries its own risks, including negative physical effects which can accumulate over time.

So what’s an emergency room doctor to do? Common sense health tips such as getting enough sleep, eating right and exercising regularly are vital. Regarding sleep, ER doctors should make absolutely sure they are getting enough rest, even if it take setting an alarm clock to tell them when to go to bed! If these physicians are working nights, they should make sure other members of the family know they are absolutely not to be disturbed during daytime hours, when they should be sleeping. A well-balanced diet can help these doctors reduce stress and increase energy. And a regular exercise regimen should also be part of the normal routine of an emergency room physician, as physical activity has been positively associated with both physical and mental well-being.

Physical activity can also ward off such effects of aging as the loss of energy, muscle mass and cognitive ability in the older emergency medicine physician. Getting enough sleep is even more important for these older EM doctors as shift work becomes increasingly difficult after age 40. Finally, vision and hearing tests are also a good idea at this career stage.
But proper sleep and exercise are just the beginning of a well-balanced lifestyle. Other considerations include building in enough family time with spouses, kids and significant others, and ensuring a healthy spiritual life.  Only when we ask ourselves such questions as “For what am I most grateful?” or “What gives me the greatest joy in life?” can we maintain a proper work/life balance. Some have even suggested that emergency medical doctors need to formulate some kind of “mission statement” simply to convey in simple language what they feel is the purpose of their life. Such statements must of necessity be subject to change as our age, health and desires change over time.

What happens when these components of a healthy lifestyle are neglected? Burnout. Burnout has been defined as an erosion of engagement, emotion and team spirit with other members of the emergency department.  Doctors who began their emergency medicine careers with enthusiasm, compassion and patience can gradually descend into anger, cynicism, bitterness and frustration. Instead of being attracted to their work, these doctors find themselves fearing or loathing it. Activities outside of work which were once enjoyable become increasingly less so.

But burnout among emergency room personnel is treatable – if recognized for the mental health issue that it truly is. Emergency room administrators should be trained to recognize the symptoms and take steps to combat it. For example, they can work with emergency room physicians on arranging their schedule in such a way as to ensure a healthy work-life balance. Only by achieving this balance can ER physicians lead their own lives successfully while saving the lives of others. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Employee Spotlight!

Our Employee Spotlight is shining on Deb Hays! Deb is our credentialing specialist for KPS Locums. She always comes to work with a smile on her face, ready to tackle whatever scenario she is walking into. She is a master organizer who helps keep our team of recruiters and physicians working like clockwork. 

...And obviously has a fabulous fashion sense. 

A little about myself……

I grew up in St. Louis but moved to Hilton Head Island when I was 20 and lived there for a number of years working for a law firm as a paralegal handling real estate.  I came back to St. Louis in 2008 and worked as an addiction counselor for the first three years until starting with KPS in 2011.  I love being back home near family and feel really lucky to have such a great job!

What is my role at KPS…….

I’m the Credentialing Specialist.  I work with both the physicians and our clients during the credentialing process.  My department strives to provide the highest level of customer service possible.  We perform all the due diligence and pre-populate our documents as well as the hospitals so it takes a minimum amount of time from the physicians to complete.  We also work closely with our clients to assist in follow up functions which helps to expedite the completion of all credentialing resulting in getting our physicians to work as soon as possible!  In addition I’m responsible for maintaining all our files which includes all expiring credentials as well as our liability insurance files.

What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most…….

Credentialing generally takes several months, and during that time there is extensive interaction with our physicians, facilities and other groups.  Building relationships creates a fun environment for me to work in – it’s making friends from one coast to the other!

What is your hidden talent……….

I am able to oil paint using both my left and right hands.

What is your biggest pet peeve………

The “not responding” spinning of Outlook and the internet!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Defining the "Hospitalist"

Meet the New Generation of Physicians: The Hospitalist

At the time the term “hospitalist” was published, the year was 1996, and it had yet to be seen exactly what this up and coming position entailed. Practitioners in this newfound specialty numbered just a few hundred at that time. In a less than twenty year time span, that number has grown to an estimated 30,000. Along with the remarkable growth that this specialty has seen, there has been an accompaniment of rapid evolution into what we know hospitalists to be today.

The Society of Hospital Medicine defines hospitalists as such: “Physicians whose primary professional focus is the general medical care of hospitalized patients. Their activities include patient care, teaching, research, and leadership related to hospital medicine”. This definition truly speaks to the broad array of professional activities that hospitalists contribute to their practice. Traditionally, a physician would have to divide their time between their outpatient practice and the hospital(s) where their patients were staying. The hospitalist was brought in to alleviate this back-and-forth, to improve quality and provide value.

Programs today are expanding to include orthopedic surgeons, pediatricians, and many other specialties. They assist in the operating room, help to provide emergency department coverage and round on patients; though they do not have office based practices. Often they are employed by hospitals or large groups, but some hospitalists choose to work as independent contractors.

The most important factor when considering the idea of a hospitalist program is devising an effective method of communication. In order to make good on the idea that hospitalists are there to improve quality of patient care, there has to be a high priority on the flow of information. Disrupting continuity of patient care is a constant concern, so paperwork, records, and the like need to be consistent and available for both office and hospital based physicians.

Another issue in uniformity is that of protocol. Obviously, you cannot have a patient getting different or conflicting solutions and recommendations for a particular problem. If a hospital or group is going to have an effective hospitalist program, there are going to have to be clinical guidelines that are discussed and agreed to in advance. This is especially important when determining when/how a patient will be informed of and introduced to a hospitalist. As the hospitalist model has grown and become widespread, this has gradually become an easier transition and conversation to have with patients.

The phenomenon surrounding the hospital medicine is one that is continuing to evolve and advance. While the assumption amongst many is that the hospitalist is exclusive to internal medicine, there are actually more and more physician with board certification in family medicine and pediatrics choosing to participate in a hospitalist program. It is a truly rich and diverse field that is seeking to improve overall patient satisfaction, as well as shorten a patient’s time spent in the hospital and help the hospital become more efficient and effective in patient care. It will continue to be interesting journey as the Hospitalist programs evolves and emerges into being a part of the existing archetype.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Physician’s CV: Tips on Making Your Curriculum Vitae Stand Out

Let’s start with the basics. Very simply put, a CV is a marketing tool.
The most common mistake that physicians make when it comes to their CV is listing a lot of information without giving any thought as to how relevant the information actually is.  And since the process of becoming a licensed physician is highly regulated, your credentials will likely speak for themselves.  Your CV will obviously contain facts about your academic and professional past. However, you need to make sure that the achievements and certifications you have listed are pertinent. If your CV is your advertisement to employers, it needs to be short, sweet and to the point.   
You can be sure to make components of your CV stand out by using tactful placement, by using stylistic devices and by repressing the amount of information that you are including in your layout. A candidate who trims their CV down to only the most pertinent information will be much better off than a candidate who crams their CV full of irrelevant and sometime repetitive information.
Often times, employers and recruiters are importing and reviewing dozens of CV’s. So how do you make yourself stand out amongst the other candidates who were also top of the class, certified in this or that, with “x” amount of publications? First, make sure that all relevant information is clear upon first glance. You’ve already gone through the arduous steps of becoming a doctor; now it’s time for you to show employers what sets you apart from all the other physicians who have done the same thing.  
What leadership opportunities have you had? Have you implemented new procedures? What have you done to make yourself valuable to your professors and/ or employers? Make a distinction of what you consider your top 5 accomplishments. This gives your CV a focus, a place that draws attention, which also shows what is important to you.
Since you hopefully have some new white space on your CV, why not take some time to indicate your interests and hobbies? This way, recruiters and potential employers get a more well-rounded view of who you are as an individual, not just as a physician. Again, be brief, but give enough information to display some of your extracurricular endeavors.
And one final key for your CV is to showcase the fact that you are a team player! Employers want a hard worker, an intelligent doctor, but also want a people person. Employers don’t want a physician who just has a job to do. Try to sprinkle the phrases “seeking culture of collaborative integrated care,” “team oriented” and “looking to join an organization with a team approach to improving and enriching patient care”. The key is to be collaborative, not conforming.
If you provided a cover letter, be sure that there is no disconnect in information or theme when you are completing your CV. If you placed an emphasis on one or two key aspects of you that you things make you unique, continue that emphasis into your CV. Your cover letter not only gives you a chance to introduce your medical philosophy, but also can highlight what you are looking for in a position. This gives recruiters and employers a starting point when it comes to potential interview questions.
By highlighting your uniqueness, you will be one step ahead of the candidate who merely submits a list of positions held. If you incorporate these ideas into your CV, you are providing your recruiter and/or potential employer a thorough picture of who you are without having a CV that is 4 pages long. Be honest, be brief and be enticing. Use clean lines, chronological order and don’t be afraid to incorporate color (in moderation). One final tip? ALWAYS remember to spellcheck! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

2013- 2014 Back to School Series: Best Medical Schools in the US for Internal Medicine

Have you been scouring the lists and rankings for the best schools for Internal Medicine? A great source has recently updated their finds! Courtesy of, we have the Top 10 Schools for Internal Medicine.
We've included tuition information, enrollment figures and a link for each of these great institutions!
*Tuiton: (In-State Full Time/ Out-of-Sate Full Time)
...                                                                                                        ...

1. John Hopkins University

Location: Baltimore, MD
Tuition: $44,100/ Not available
Enrollment: 479

2. University of California- San Francisco
Location: San Francisco, CA
Tuition: $31,134 /$43,379
Enrollment: 648

Location: Boston, MA
Tuition: $49,875/ Not available
Enrollment: 700

4. University of Pennsylvania (Perelman)
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Tuition: $47,090/ Not available
Enrollment: 646

Duke University
Location: Durham, NC
Tuition: $48,065/ Not available
Enrollment: 425

University of Michigan- Ann Arbor
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Tuition: $29,352/ $46,944
Enrollment: 591

7. Washington University
Location: Saint Louis, MO
Tuition: $52,020/ Not Available
Enrollment: 478

8. University of Washington
Location: Seattle, WA
Tuition: $28,040/ $56,970
Enrollment: 908

Location: New York, NY
Tuition: $49,504/ Not Available
Enrollment: 662

Stanford University
Location: Stanford, CA
Tuition: $47,343/ Not Available 
Enrollment: 908