Only a second was I left perplexed
And then with the changes I flexed
I know what to do
When the plans all fall through
I ask, What shall we do next?
Synopsis: I’m a Family Practitioner from Sioux City, Iowa. In 2010 I danced back from the brink of burnout, and honoring a 1 year non-compete clause, traveled and worked in out-of-the-way places in Alaska, Nebraska, Iowa, and New Zealand. After three years working with a Community Health Center, I went back to adventures in temporary positions until they have an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system I can get along with. A winter in Nome, Alaska, assignments in rural Iowa, a summer with a bike tour in Michigan, and Urgent Care in suburban Pennsylvania stretched into the fall. Since last winter I’ve worked in Alaska and western Nebraska, and taken time to deal with my wife’s (benign) brain tumor. Just back from a Canada moose hunt, I’ve worked a couple of days in northern Iowa, and I’m taking a few days off. Any identifiable patient information has been included with permission.
I have been working on practicing in Canada for 20 months. Six weeks ago I thought I was within 2 months, then 3 weeks ago learned that my case would have to go through immigration because I have no plans to immigrate. And that their review would take 6 months.
OK, I know how to deal with uncertainty. Bethany and I talked for about 10 minutes, with the unspeakable luxury of discussing, Where shall we go next?
If I had the chance to tell me as a teenager what life would look like 50 years in the future, I would not have believed me saying that such freedom could exist in the real world. We decided on interior Alaska for the winter. And I decided I wanted to work for the Veterans’ Administration, because they have been so very good to me.
I got on the net, I plugged my headphones into my cell, and I started the process. VA facilities run shorthanded chronically, but the one in Fairbanks no longer works with agencies. And they are willing to work with me directly.
Over the next couple of days I got emails from several people in the institution with a far warmer and friendlier tone than I expected.
Last week I started the credentialing process. I put in a mere 7 hours, finishing yesterday with a trip to FedEx.
Because I cut the agency out, I’ll have to arrange my own housing and vehicle.
Tonight I talked with a man who specializes in selling cars to seasonal Alaska workers and buying them back when the jobs are done. I’ll wait till things have firmed up till I start contacting real estate agents and other housing mavens.
Yesterday I learned that that my putative Canadian gig had found permanent recruits and wouldn’t need me.
Uncertainty, part of the human condition, runs rampant in the locum tenens business, and struck again in less than a week. Yet from experience I know if something falls through, I generally end up having a better time with my second, third or fourth choice than I would have with my first.
I got out my 3×5 cards and started making notes as I cruised Googlemaps and Wikipedia.
I read stuff to Bethany, and we talked. She doesn’t want to go anywhere reachable only by small plane or snow machine, or that has under 1000 people. I, in turn, define my professional zone of comfort as less than 2 hours from the nearest surgeon.
We have to have indoor exercise facilities for both of us, internet access, and at least one grocery store. Nice options would include a cinema, indoor archery range, and recreational fishing. I would like to walk to work, and Bethany would like to be able to get work as a teacher.
We’re looking forward to the next adventure.