Meet Dr. Colin Zhu, osteopath and family practice physician. Raised by a mother who was also a Chinese medical doctor, Dr. Zhu knew early on that he wanted to bring a whole-person approach to treatment. He also wanted to bring his whole self to work each day. So he used locums to develop a flexible, holistic approach to both patient care and his career.
Healing through food
Between medical school and residency, Dr. Zhu entered culinary school. He was passionate about food as medicine and wanted to help the public understand how they could transform their health and well-being by changing their diets.
Dr. Zhu became “The Chef Doc” and started leading interactive workshops on nutritional therapies at national conferences. These workshops included culinary demos and allowed Zhu to introduce other primary care physicians to his whole-person approach to healthcare.
Locums from the start
Dr. Zhu knew working in a typical hospital setting could easily force his culinary passion to take a back seat to a busy schedule, so he chose locum tenens as his first full-time gig.
“Locums provides a lot of opportunities and also allows me the time, freedom, and autonomy to dictate the type of lifestyle and work life-balance that I seek personally,” shares Zhu.
While in his residency, Zhu had heard about CompHealth from a peer and realized he could try locums before committing to a permanent position. And now?
“Not only do I not regret it, it’s something that I can do for the foreseeable future because it allows me to just practice medicine, and I don’t have to worry about politics, red tape, bureaucracy, anything like that,” explains Zhu.
Taking more time
Dr. Zhu’s whole person-approach also meant taking more time with each patient to discuss their diagnoses and how other factors such as lifestyle and diet may be impacting health.
“In today’s healthcare environment, it’s not unheard of for a physician to come in and out [of a patient consulting room] within five to seven minutes and that leaves very little room to counsel a patient, go over their diagnoses, treatment plans, things like that,” says Zhu. “Locums is great because I can dictate how many patients I want to see… [it] allows me more freedom to explain about their disease process, and you hear things like, ‘Doctor, you’re the first one who actually explained my diagnosis to me.’”
Recruiters keep locums simple
Zhu’s close relationship with his locums recruiter helps him minimize stress and hassle while getting the exact placements he wants.
“My recruiter is amazing,” says Zhu. “She takes care of the day-to-day things like housing, travel, car rental, and malpractice insurance. And she’s also active behind the scenes, helping with licensing, credentialing, and hospital privileges, which a busy physician doesn’t have time to do.”
Dr. Zhu recommends every physician who wants a flexible lifestyle at least try locums. “Maybe start with a moonlighting gig,” he suggests. “The opportunities and possibilities are endless.”
And for residents considering locums as a jumping off point, Zhu adds, “If they want more time and freedom and autonomy, I would say it’s definitely for them.”
Living a full life
Dr. Zhu sums up his locums experience, “I work locum tenens because I enjoy the work that I do. I give quality service to patients, and I get to dictate my own lifestyle and choose my own schedule rather than fulfilling someone else’s agenda.”
For physicians seeking better work-life balance, and the freedom and autonomy to explore their own passions, Dr. Zhu has a parting comment, “There’s a locums job for everyone.”
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