Stood up for the eleventh time

On an exciting adventure I’ll go

Out where the wild winds blow

    Sending by fax

    Sheets piled in stacks

Until the recruiter says “No.”

Teachers get substitutes, administrative assistants get temps, and doctors get locum tenens.  During this year I’m doing some locum tenens work. 

I am getting better and better at filling out applications for locum tenens agencies.

The process goes like this:  I contact a recruiter and tell them I’m interested; the call goes well and the recruiter sounds enthusiastic.  I talk about the year I’m taking to Do Other Things, I explain about the one year non-compete clause.  Pretty soon they ask me how much I want to get, and I say, “It’s not about the money anymore,” and I explain that I’m looking for adventure.  Then we talk about my availability.

Shortly afterwards my email has a form for me to fill out, anywhere from four to twelve pages. 

Over the following couple of days I procrastinate about the form, and finally fill it out.

I get together a copy of my Continuing Medical Education certificates, all my licenses (I have 8), my med school diploma, my internship/residency certificate, my driver’s license, an explanation of the lawsuit I was dismissed from, a list of my traffic tickets, and copies of my ACLS and BLS cards.

Then I babysit my new fax machine while the stack of sheets goes over copper telephone wires.

I scanned those documents into my computer but, for some reason, the files won’t send.  If this process keeps up much longer I’m going to find out why.

The recruiter calls me back a few hours or days later and pitches an assignment, asking if I’m interested.  Most of the time I say yes, and the recruiter says he or she will present me to the Client.

Recently a position came open to do house calls to hotel rooms in a very expensive, glamorous ski resort.  I stopped the recruiter in mid pitch.  “That’s not me,” I said.

I’ve sent my materials out to eight agencies so far; the first time the process consumed me for the better part of a month.  Now it takes about two hours.  I’ve said yes to fourteen placements so far, of which three have panned out.

Even if I’ve made my mind up not to get angry, one can’t get stood up eleven times without some negative feelings.  

Still, life is all about tradeoffs, and in this case it’s time here versus time elsewhere; it’s the experience of staying home versus the experience of going new places and doing new things.  It’s not about the money.


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3 Responses to “Stood up for the eleventh time”

  1. Alan Lakomski Says:

    I hope we are not one of the culprits but if so, please let me know. This is poor service at best and if we are involved, I’d like to help remedy the problem. Are you looking at assignments in the US or overseas? What is your field of focus.


    Alan Lakomski
    Chief Operating Officer
    Global Medical Staffing

    • walkaboutdoc Says:

      Postings on would indicate that doctor experience with locum firms has been disappointing. Certainly if your company had a good reputation, it would be easy for them to get business. I have replied to mailings from about a good firm I dealt with.
      I’ll not say if yours is one of the good, bad, or untried firms. If you search your data base and find my bona fides, I would recommend against head-hunting. As a general rule, a locums firm should be able to answer some quality measure questions: How long from the time the doc asks to be presented until he/she hears one way or the other? How many times does a doc get accepted after he/she has said yes to being presented? How often does a doc sign up for repeat assignments? What percent of your business is repeat business?

      As always, gather data to define if a problem exists, measure how big the problem is, try a solution, and measure the problem again to see if the solution is working.
      Fix the problem, not the blame.

  2. hmm...? Says:


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