Dr. Tammy Allen was about to finish her medical school residency, but she didn’t know what she wanted to do next. Her friends were all set with long-term jobs, but that didn’t feel right to Dr. Allen. Instead, she decided to give locum tenens
a try. Fast forward 11 years and Dr. Allen is still working locums, taking assignments across the country, from the state of Washington to New Hampshire
“When I started out as a locum everyone asked why I was doing locums. I told them, ‘Because I really don’t know what I want to do,’” Dr. Allen recalls. “Now they ask why are you doing locums and I say, ‘Because I know exactly what I want to do.’”
Traveling the world
Besides traveling for her job, Dr. Allen has the time to see the country and the world. She often takes a month or more off work, allowing her to really immerse herself in other cultures. She’s been to nearly every state in the U.S., and every continent except Antarctica—although it is in her plans.
She used to travel on her own, but now she travels with her husband and family. One trip that particularly changed her, Dr. Allen says, was a trip to Madagascar.
“I’ve been to lots of third world countries but Madagascar was just one of those countries that really touched me. Madagascar is such a poor country but the people are very proud and very giving,” Dr. Allen says.
Spending time with family
Traveling is also important to Dr. Allen, and because of the flexibility of locum tenens, she’s often able to combine her love of traveling with her love of being with family. This summer, she’s taking her family to South Africa for her birthday. Her family grew up in North Carolina and has never really traveled outside of the country, so she’s looking forward to showing them the kind of traveling she’s used to.
In addition, Dr. Allen is able to spend more time with her husband. She says that he visits her on weekends while she’s on assignments or they combine her assignment with a family vacation. When she was on assignment in Spokane, her husband flew out and they spent a week traveling throughout Washington
Most importantly, when Dr. Allen is home from an assignment, she’s really home. She’s with her husband and family without ever having to be on call or stressed about whatever is happening at work.
RELATED: Balancing Locum Tenens with Family Life
Giving back to the community
Dr. Allen recognizes all that her career and community have given her, so she works to give back. She says locum tenens gives her more time to volunteer.
“I have colleagues who want to do volunteer work but they literally don’t have the time because they work every day. Because I work a week and I’m off a week, there’s time for me to get in some of those volunteer activities that I love to do,” Dr. Allen says.
Dr. Allen volunteers at a free clinic regularly, and she steps up when tragedy strikes. When Hurricane Katrina hit, she spent two weeks at a volunteer clinic in New Orleans, where she was able to help the people who had just lost everything.
“I believe that physicians are extremely blessed,” Dr. Allen says. “We have a lot that we need to give back and I try to live my life doing that as well.”