Dr. Kathleen Klotz owned a private neurology
practice for 20 years. But with the Affordable Care Act came new requirements for digital records. Because she did not have the resources to upgrade her computer system, she was forced to shut down her practice and start looking for a hospital job.
She quickly found work at a local hospital but was eventually overwhelmed by the 16-hour days and lack of coordination between the hospitalists and specialists. In looking for other opportunities, she discovered locum tenens
Finding Time for Herself
Dr. Klotz chose to quit her hospital job and began working locum tenens. Suddenly she was working in different states and really enjoying medicine again. She was able to place more emphasis on the patient and also found something that was missing in her job at the hospital and at her own practice — free time.
“I’m getting a little spoiled…having days off back at my house in Atlanta,” she said. “For the last few days or so I’ve been getting ready to mail my Christmas presents to my sisters and I was thinking if I was still working 16-hour days at the hospital I would not be able to do this.”
The Challenges and Rewards of Working Locum Tenens
Dr. Klotz’s assignments have not only allowed her more flexibility, but also the opportunity to have meaningful interactions with patients across the country. During one assignment, she looked into the case of a man in his forties who had died due to an excessive number of large blood clots. Through her digging, she was able to uncover the rare genetic disorder responsible for the clots. When discussing this with the family, she found other family members had similar problems with clots but they had no idea is was genetic or so potentially dangerous. Thanks to the discovery, all of the family members plan to be tested for the gene. If discovered, the condition can be easily treated with blood thinners.
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The experience of working in different settings and a variety of states has come with both excitement and a little trepidation. Learning new computer systems is always a hard task and Dr. Klotz has found it best to have formal computer training the first day of any assignment.
But the hardest part of working locums isn’t about the work at all.
“I’m in the habit of singing in my church choir every Sunday and now they’re distressed without me because they need an alto who can read music,” she said. “But the more I do it, I think I’m starting to lean over to the locum tenens side. It’s certainly better than owning your own office. And I think the choir is getting used to having to count on the other altos.”
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