Though internal medicine physician Norman Baron has nearly 40 years of experience under his belt, he has no plans to stop practicing medicine.
“Retirement will never be in my sights. In my blood is this burning desire to practice medicine — it’s just as much as a hobby as it is a vocation for me,” Dr. Baron says.
Toward the end of his full-time career, Dr. Baron discovered that locum tenens assignments allowed him to continue practicing medicine on his own terms.
“I could say on these days, I’m going to be with family, I’m going to go on a trip or I’m not available,” Dr. Baron says. “You can’t usually arrange those kinds of things in a permanent position. It’s much easier doing locums.”
Locum tenens assignments also allow Dr. Baron to travel and see parts of the country he’s never experienced — even in his home state of California.
“A recent assignment allowed me to be closer to a new area of wine country, and I stayed on to relax and do a little bit of exploring on my own,” Dr. Baron recalls. “I’m certainly not out hiking and river rafting, but I am seeing what the local culture is. Locum tenens assignments allow me to visit places of my choice and experience a little bit of adventure.”
Delivering care is not the only part of Dr. Baron’s career he finds rewarding. He recently spent two-and-a-half years at the University of California, Davis teaching internists about ambulatory care.
“I was teaching these young physicians who have wonderful intelligence and potential to treat diabetes, hypertension or heart disease. It’s amazing how naïve I was when I first completed my training as an internist, and I pictured these kids the same way,” Dr. Baron says. “They demonstrate that idealism, but they just don’t know how to do everything. My perspective right now is a larger picture of how am I going to change this system.”
Though teaching is part of Dr. Baron’s goal for improving healthcare, he feels his locum tenens assignments give him the opportunity to make a difference in patients’ lives.
“I feel that I leave a wonderful legacy with every patient encounter I have, especially when they wouldn’t have been able to get that quality of care otherwise,” Dr. Baron expresses. “When I’m on assignment, I see myself as a good doctor who’s giving the best opinions that he can with his many years of experience and seeing that patient do well. That really is gratifying.”