How locum tenens helped one NP get rid of burnout and love medicine again

May 13th, 2024 6 Min read How locum tenens helped one NP get rid of burnout and love medicine again Blog

Sophia Khawly, ARNP, MSN, shares how locum tenens became her NP burnout solution and allowed her to love practicing medicine again.

Burned out and ready for change

Working in a full-time primary care job for three years left me feeling burned out. I no longer looked forward to going to work. There was something mundane about the same daily routine. I was living in a big city and had to spend an hour commuting to work each way. By the time I got home in the evenings, I only had enough time to eat dinner, shower, and get ready for bed.

I felt overwhelmed having to see a patient every 15 minutes. Many of the patients were geriatric, so 15 minutes wasn’t nearly enough time to address their dozens of concerns. I felt like I was unable to be the nurse practitioner I wanted to be — one who took her time with patients and focused more on patient education.

Quote from NP Sophia Khawly about burnout in her job before finding locums

I often had to stay after hours to catch up on documentation. I felt like work took up most of my time, and my work/life balance suffered as a result. I only had two weeks of paid time off each year. This was not nearly enough time for me to travel abroad and recuperate from burnout. Fortunately, I realized I was ready for a change.

I decided to pursue locum tenens so that I could have new experiences and filter the type of job I was looking for. I liked that I was able to commit to a job for only three months at a time, which would provide me with plenty of flexibility.

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Making an impact as a locum tenens NP

My first locum tenens job rejuvenated my passion for medicine. I had the freedom to choose an assignment in a rural area that was more laid back than what I was accustomed to. The job came with housing, and it was a ten-minute drive each way. No more wasting time in traffic!

I made sure to select an assignment where I would be seeing fewer than 20 patients per day. As an introvert, I realized that seeing more than 20 patients in a day drained me. The assignment even offered two hours of admin time a week, which allowed me to catch up on paperwork.

My care team was very autonomous and helped with patient flow, such as immunizations and inputting patients’ health screenings in our EHR. As a result, I could spend more time with the patients and offer patient teaching to such a vulnerable population. I felt my work become more rewarding, and I started to look forward to going to work again.

Quote from NP Sophia Khawly about finding her work more rewarding when working locums assignments

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Locums allows for travel and time with loved ones

The location of my assignment was also impactful. It was in Washington state, and during my off hours, I would spend time hiking and immersing myself in nature. Being outdoors really elevated my spirit and helped me practice mindfulness. 

Working in locum tenens allows for unlimited time off. During my first year working in locum tenens, I took three months off. In those three months, I traveled internationally to several countries. I also spent valuable time with family and friends. I no longer felt like work was my priority. Locums allowed me to prioritize myself and my overall wellness.

NP Sophia Khawly shares how locum allowed her to focus on herself and her own wellbeing

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Rediscovering a passion for medicine

Fast forward to now, after working in ten different states and over 25 practices — I still feel passionate about my profession as a nurse practitioner. I have continued to work in locum tenens because it allows me to combine my passion for traveling, learning, and helping others. Additionally, I can avoid workplace bureaucracy, taking calls, and working on holidays. I am so appreciative of locum tenens for allowing me to continue being the type of nurse practitioner I want to be!

Think locum tenens is your NP burnout solution? Give us a call at 800.453.3030 or view today’s NP job opportunities.


Alisa Tank

Alisa Tank is a content specialist at CHG Healthcare. She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of others. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, road trips, and exploring Utah’s desert landscapes.

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