Locum Life: A Relationship with an Expiration Date

Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, but sometimes, we come across those people, situations or endeavors that we known are burning candles from the start – those inevitable feelings we can’t avoid that unintentionally fast forward our focus prematurely to the end of the story. Of course I’m talking about those times when from the very beginning we realize the ending is coming, and it’s shadow looms overhead from day one. Basically, this is the life of someone like myself working exclusively as a Locum Tenens Provider.

As my job is to fill gaps for sick or maternity/paternity leaves, emergencies, and whilst a hospital seeks out a longer term solution or permanent provider, I enter each new contract knowing that my lifespan is already established and specifically finite. If you had the power to know exactly when you were to meet your end, would you really want to know? Does it change the way you approach your life? It becomes a constant thought and struggle as I leap frog from one job to the next, seeping into the fabric of a new community and hospital, learning its ways, leaving part of my heart on its doorsteps, and then disappearing into the wind. Even harder, is when I can see myself evaporating away with each passing day encroaching on the final shift.

For some jobs, I’m excited from day one that it won’t be My Forever 😅. For others, as I grow into the work community and establish relationships and connections, I feel my heart breaking slightly more and more as I countdown the inevitable time to move on. The longer i stay, the sadder i get. Sure, nothing lasts forever, but it gets emotionally exhausting to see the ending before you even get past the starting line. It’s a unique feeling – to know that your ending is near and being able to so clearly see the path at the same time. For some jobs, I unintentionally observe newcomers interviewing to replace me or moreso to end my replacement of their gap. There are many bittersweet times when I acknowledge that the group or hospital as a whole needs their help, but I reluctantly also know that means my time will come to an end. We are generally not as lucky on a day-to-day basis and it helps to garner appreciation for every moment and to put every ounce of effort into the experience knowing that it is completely ethereal.

Of course, this begs the question of taking a Permanent Placement or transitioning myself as it is from a Locum Tenens Provider to a Full Time Staff member at facilities where there is mutual interest. Eventually, when I find my forever home and forever placement, I will full heartedly make the jump. In the meantime, I am but a wanderer leaving bits of myself at each stop until I can amalgamate my experiences to become the best doctor that I can be by the time i reach my final destination. It’s hard to get into a new relationship when I know it eventually won’t last, but, maybe the final destination is just a frame of mind and being able to see the end at each beginning mitigates the idea that there is ever an end in the first place.

Image Credit: https://www.projectmanagement.com/blog/blogPostingView.cfm?blogPostingID=25922&thisPageURL=/blog-post/25922/Start-at-the-end-or-the-beginning–Perspective-Counts-#=

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