Locums lets Dr. Peter Kim spend more time with his familyJuly 19th, 2017 4 Min read Blog
[caption id="attachment_10878" align="alignright" width="300"] The Kim family with Dr. Kim's parents.[/caption] After a 20 plus year career as an obstetrician Dr. Peter Kim saw a fellow a physician he had been in residency with succumb to cancer. It gave Kim an epiphany, after watching his friend work all the time and then be gone so quickly made Kim realize he wanted to spend more time with his wife and three small children. Combining that with a desire for a change in his work environment and locum tenens provided him with the answer he and his career needed. He switched from full-time work to more “retirement” hours working just two weeks a month, sometimes only a day or two in a row. This allowed he and his wife to home-school his oldest son, coach a baseball team and just do the things he always wanted to do but never had the time for before. [caption id="attachment_10882" align="alignright" width="300"] Dr. Kim's wife and kids.[/caption] “It is a little harder being away from my family but I’m able to not take assignments where I’m away from my family too long. Usually the longest that I’m away is about a week,” says Kim. “Other times I’ve found that there’s plenty of work locally and within short distances. It’s been quite the blessing. I find I sleep better, I come back from these assignments, my family, the kids are super happy to see me. It’s been really wonderful.” Living in Golden, Colorado Kim has found locums assignments available near his home so is often able to just drive to the assignment each day, other times he may take a week long assignment in southeastern Colorado or in the neighboring state of Wyoming. [caption id="attachment_10883" align="alignright" width="300"] Dr. Kim and his son in London.[/caption] “The benefits really are that I can set my own schedule. For example, I’m homeschooling my oldest and we decided to let him pick a place that he might want to go on a foreign trip and he wanted to go to London,” says Kim. “I was able to go to London with him for a little over a week and explore that without worrying about, ‘What’s going to be waiting for me at the office when I get back?’ Or having to really plan things out six months in advance like I used to have to do for things like that.” His family has even surprised him on assignment. He was scheduled to work over the Thanksgiving holiday in Lamar, Colorado just 220 miles from his home. He had planned on just getting Thanksgiving dinner at a local restaurant when he got a text message from his family saying they were outside the hotel. They spent a day and a half with him in Lamar and were able to enjoy Thanksgiving together. “I think that’s been one of the great things is just being able to juggle family time with three kids. And then I enjoy exploring new areas,” he says. “Going into Wyoming, I do like the outdoors quite a bit and camping, fishing, backpacking and so it’s been nice driving through these areas of Wyoming I’ve always wanted to see and for whatever reason haven’t been able to get out there. And just meeting new people. I’ve met a lot of nice people on the way here.” [caption id="attachment_10881" align="alignright" width="225"] The text Dr. Kim received when his family surprised him on assignment on Thanksgiving.[/caption] He has also had some great experiences with patients while on assignment. He was working on his birthday and seeing a woman who was nearly 35 weeks pregnant and in preterm labor with a frank breech, baby boy. She needed a C-section delivery and was fairly overwhelmed by the idea of having surgery and delivering her baby early. “I was able to lighten the mood by telling her that these were the exact same circumstances under which I was delivered 52 years ago on the same day: exact same gestational age, preterm labor, same type of breech presentation, and obviously same gender,” he says. “I told her that while I didn’t become a neurosurgeon, I felt I turned out okay. Given all the similarities, I even jokingly tried to persuade her to name her son, ‘Peter’.” Afterwards, the patient made a point to write a nice thank you note to Kim saying how reassuring she found his story on that stressful day. She even took the effort to track him down since he worked as a locums and wasn’t a regular physician in the hospital. Dr. Kim was also selected to be one of three physicians traveling with CompHealth’s parent company CHG Healthcare and the Making A Difference Foundation on a medical mission to Kenya. “It really was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities. As I’ve gotten into locums I’ve really been trying to get into more volunteer work with my kids’ schools and with church and things like that and this just was a natural off shoot that I thought would be wonderful,” says Kim.