About a year ago, I realized two decades of medical practice had passed in the blink of an eye. From medical college at Pennsylvania to residency in general surgery at St. John Hospital and Medical Center to my practice as a general surgeon, I was proud of those years, but I found myself asking, “What’s next?”

I have always been an adventurer at heart. The challenge of forging into the unknown and pushing myself to try new things is thrilling to me, and I especially enjoy going where I can contribute my whole self.

That’s why locum tenens, as a way of practicing, beckoned to me. These days, it’s hard for a physician or advanced practice provider to go through their career without interacting or having exposure to a locums staffing agency and locum tenens physicians. It had always been on my checklist of things to explore — an option I could pursue down the road.

Suddenly, I was at that crossroads.

A new chapter. Like most things in life, it wasn’t like the heavens parted and suddenly the path before me was clear. But after multiple conversations with various recruiters from big firms and small firms, the connection I felt with Floyd Lee Locums felt like home.

I had been working in rural facilities in Virginia and North Carolina and wanted to take my passion for rural healthcare to places I had not been. My consultant understood what I was looking for in the next phase of my journey and found a role where I could do just that at a Tribal Nation healthcare facility in Oklahoma.

I found a wealth of case variety and complexity in the day-today work I was doing. My presence there aided in the continuity of care of those patients. With decades of practice in building up care programs and problem-solving patients’ treatment needs, locums immediately let me put my knowledge to work and make a difference in the lives of others.

My team at Floyd Lee Locums continues to be part of this journey as they help me navigate my new world in locums. I appreciate their 24/7 assistance with my assignments, including my travel and logistics. I know the members of my Floyd Lee Locums team by name, and they are there for me on an ongoing basis for anything — big or small. Not only do I have a relationship with them, they also coordinate with each other to ensure we all stay on the same page.

The locums lifestyle. The destinations, flexibility and diversity in patient cases were what initially drew me to locums. But it turned out that was just the beginning. What I discovered along the way changed not only my perception of locums tenens, but also what I believed was possible for my own professional development.

There’s a perception that the staff of a locum tenens firm constantly knocks down your door and sends an endless stream of emails. But honestly, that hasn’t been my experience. My consultant matched me with an assignment that was compatible to my needs and desires. It wasn’t a forced relationship. The needs of the healthcare facility as well as my professional needs were all considered and braided together to build a positive outcome and ensure good relationships. That team-building effort was so successful that after six months I still want to extend my assignment.

At a time when I was ready to explore something new, locums was waiting for me. To anyone else considering the locums lifestyle, I would say this: Stay in your current location. I don’t want the competition. Jokes aside, though, look for a staffing firm that’s quick and responsive and makes adjustments on the fly for you. You want a staffing partner that can give you the variety and depth you need for your career. Not all firms are created equal.

I appreciate and enjoy the concierge support and attention to detail from my current firm. (I’ll also add I won the company’s lottery for a luxury vacation just by practicing with them. But that’s a story for another day.)

In the meantime, consider branching out into your next adventure. You might find something that really surprises you.