• Doctors turning to temp work, but is it good for patients?

    Link to the article: https://www.newsnationnow.com/health/doctors-turning-to-temp-work-but-is-it-good-for-patients/amp/
    July 2, 2023

    In the world of medicine, part-time work was usually reserved for doctors transitioning into retirement, but amid an uptick in physician burnout rates, many are opting to make full-time careers out of temporary jobs. But it doesn’t come without challenges, especially for hospitals and physicians who rely on them.

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  • Burned Out, Doctors Turn to Temp Work

    Link to the article: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-rise-of-the-part-time-doctor-7025ec1d
    June 6, 2023

    A growing group of physicians are ditching medicine’s traditional career path and hitting the road as temporary doctors-for-hire.

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  • Finding the path to healing from the COVID pandemic

    Link to the article: https://locumstory.com/spotlight/covid-pandemic-learning-and-healing/
    July 19, 2022

    Emergency medicine locum tenens physician Ripal H. Patel, MD, MPH, reflects on how COVID-19 impacted the medical community and how we can find the path to healing from the pandemic.

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  • Quitting Medicine is NOT the Answer

    Link to the article: https://locumstory.com/spotlight/quitting-medicine-not-answer/
    March 10, 2022

    The road to MD was never easy for me. I am terrible at memorizing. Even worse at standardized exams. As I progressed through college, that dream of becoming a physician kept sparking in my mind, and I kept trying to smother it. Some of it was out of fear: fear of wanting something so badly — and believing that this was truly the direction my life needed to take — but that I might not achieve it.

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  • Maintaining physical and mental health while working locums

    Link to the article: https://locumstory.com/spotlight/take-care-yourself-physician/
    May 18, 2021

    When do you feel you are the most healthy? For me, the time I feel at the top of my game, pinnacle of fitness, and the most energetic, believe it or not, is during my locums work weeks. How, you might ask? Aren’t you working long hours, on the road, staying in hotels, and consuming fast food?

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  • Locum tenens horror stories (and how to avoid them)

    Link to the article: https://locumstory.com/spotlight/locum-tenens-horror-stories/
    April 30, 2021

    I love horror films. It’s what drew me into film school. The Exorcist, Psycho, anything Alfred Hitchcock… oh and It — that was the end of it for me and clowns. As much as I love horror, I definitely don’t need it in my professional life. I think back to my initial days flying across the country parachuting into locum gigs, grossly unaware of what was lurking. Not killer clowns or psychopathic serial killers (oh Texas Chainsaw Massacre, sigh), but sometimes unexpected scenarios that caused an equal amount of lost sleep.

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  • The diversity of locums experience

    Link to the article: https://locumstory.com/spotlight/patel-locums-career-choosing-assignment/
    March 23, 2021

    Gawking at modern art on Canyon Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico’s capital. Trekking through snow-capped mountains across Southern Vermont. Sipping a Sezarac at the Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter of New Orleans after a string of shifts are complete, with a Second Line (brass band) pumping out beats.

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  • Use a checklist to get rid of uncertainty

    Link to the article: https://locumstory.com/spotlight/locum-tenens-assignment-checklist/
    March 23, 2021

    Unstable. Anxiety-provoking. Unexpected. Fearing the unknown.

    That is generally how I feel people perceive my career as a locums emergency medicine physician. Ironically, it is the exact opposite. On each assignment, my routine is about as clockwork and orderly as could be — to the point of mundane. And I’m completely ok with that.

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  • How I used locum tenens to stabilize my practice

    Link to the article: https://locumstory.com/spotlight/optimized-medicine-locum-tenens/
    March 23, 2021

    Each year when my residents graduate, I like to check in on them to see how they are adjusting to attending life. Unfortunately, COVID drastically altered their employment landscape. As hospitals saw lower volumes, administrators felt staffing should be cut back. This left the emergency departments unstable, because no one can truly anticipate when patient surges will occur.

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  • On the frontlines of COVID-19: From infected to vaccinated

    Link to the article: https://locumstory.com/spotlight/frontlines-covid-infected-vaccinated/
    February 10, 2021

    They say doctors don’t get sick. Call it machismo, call it pride, or call it a steadfast devotion to our patients, who we feel need us to stand strong as we commit ourselves to treating their illness.

    So when, during the early months of the pandemic in April, I came back to my house and began to feel dizzy, lightheaded, and warm, I knew something was wrong. I rushed up to my bedroom, grabbed the temperature gun, and aimed it at my forehead. I heard a beep, then saw a dark, red flash. 102.4. That image will forever be with me.

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  • How COVID exposed the underbelly of our healthcare system (and what we can do about it).

    Link to the article: https://locumstory.com/spotlight/covid-emergency-medicine/
    December 13, 2020

    Ripal H. Patel, MD, MPH, shares his thoughts on how COVID-19 has changed healthcare and what it means for physicians.

    I was on a run of four twelve-hour shifts in south New Mexico. I was exhausted, dehydrated, weak, and my back throbbed after having finished sewing up a patient’s leg that had been flayed open from a tractor injury. As I wobbled back to my desk, I saw seven new patients had checked in. That flashing white of them being “unassigned” on our large TV patient tracker haunted me. I still had several discharges to do, finish a procedure note for that leg, then see what was remaining. Nursing hadn’t notified me that any of them were acute, but the ER was in such chaos who knew.

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  • Race and Medicine: What will bring us together?

    Link to the article: https://locumstory.com/spotlight/race-medicine/
    July 31, 2020

    Ripal H. Patel, MD, MPH, shares his thoughts on race and medicine as a locum tenens emergency medicine physician.

    Watching the thousands gather in downtown Houston to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Some wearing masks and many not. Fears of tear gas, breathing, and sweat — a petri dish for COVID-19. The coronavirus — invisible to the eye — looking for a new host, with a blind eye to race or politics. Infect. Just infect.

    How is a physician, passionate about human rights and demolishing institutional racism, to reconcile this moment in history?

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  • The Freedom of Locums Tenens

    Link to the article: https://locumstory.com/spotlight/er-physician-loves-the-freedom-of-locum-tenens/
    June 15, 2020

    Dr. Ripal Patel, MD, M.P.H. nods with an understanding smile when fellow ER physicians chronicle the trials of their full-time positions. Working days they didn’t want to work. Missing family events. Navigating ever-shifting hospital politics. Attending staff meetings on days off. Trudging through the same workplace environment every day. Feeling little control over one’s schedule or, worse still, over one’s own career. He experienced the same frustrations, and tolerated them for only so long.

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  • Dr. Patel: Saving Lives During the Pandemic Through Locums Service

    Link to the article: https://locumstory.com/spotlight/emergency-medicine-locums-coronavirus/
    May 01, 2020

    Outbreak. Epidemic. Pandemic.

    Sweating under my personal protective gear, I look wearily through the foggy face-shield to see the number of patients in the waiting room rising from 5, to 10, to 15, to 20. I sigh, my heart palpitating, wondering how I will get through this. Our carts are low on masks, we only have two isolation rooms, and testing is still limited. We are all scared. We are walking on a tight-rope — a system at near-capacity — hoping we can cross the wire, in deep fear that a surge may tip us over.

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  • A Full-Time Locums Career

    Link to the article: https://dev.physiciansweekly.com/a-full-time-locums-career/
    October 25, 2019

    When I first met James, I was a physician just out of training. James had arrived as a locum tenens physician at my permanent job. He was energetic, enthusiastic, and seemed incredibly refreshed. As he explained to me what he did, I went from disbelief to awe. This finally morphed into suppressed anger.

    I felt my life was in disarray: constant weekends, never getting the holidays I wanted, and the schedule flipping: harsh night to day conversions and vice-versa. I lived in a constant state of exhaustion, trapped in a position I had imagined would be my only future. I wanted to plant roots and become involved in administration. I was under the impression the pay would justify it. Unfortunately, the “RVU multiplier” model was not panning out according to what I had been promised–more like taking a dart, hurling it at a board, and that would be my monthly paycheck.

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  • Locums Life and Lodging: Hotels vs. AirBnB

    Link to the article: https://locumstory.com/spotlight/locum-tenens-housing/
    April 27, 2019

    Locums has become my life: it is essentially all that I live, breath, and do, and has allowed me to take firm control of my practice and deliver emergency care - on my terms.

    With that has come travel. Lots of travel. As in the TSA agents shouting “What’s up Rip” when I’m in security; the Enterprise employees asking me about my cousins prior birthday at St. Arnold’s Brewery in Houston; and the rental car shuttle driver at Sunport in Albuquerque wondering how my prior trip to Egypt was. When travel became my life, I knew my lodging choice would be critical in ensuring my happiness on assignments.

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