Emergency medicine physician Reginald K. Franklin, M.D. has been practicing in his field for 25 years. He worked locums back in 2009 and 2010, and within the last two years, he has returned to take locums assignments with Cross Country Locums, formerly Medical Doctor Associates, (MDA). We asked Dr. Franklin what motivates him to choose the locum lifestyle with Cross Country Locums, and here’s what he said:
What led you to consider locums as a career option?
I was originally drawn to locums for the independence. I like longer-term locum assignments, and I really like having control over my schedule.
What advantages have you found in working locums?
As far as advantages are concerned, travel appeals to me greatly. I have had many opportunities to travel all over the country. I have worked out west in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Washington. I’ve also worked up north in Minnesota. I am originally from Alabama and began my career in Georgia, and so those are places I had never been before.
What advice would you share with a friend or peer about taking locums assignments?
I would say it’s a little different than a full-time job. There are definitely plusses and minuses. For example, you can visit new travel locations and you have independence. Also, the pay can be a little higher in certain instances. However, you don’t get paid holidays. There are some things you give up. But it’s worth it.
What do you feel is the biggest misconception about working as a locums provider?
I think the biggest misconception is that in the minds of a lot of people, if you’re not working full time there’s something wrong. But that’s not the case. Most providers are just choosing locums for the freedom or other benefits.
What are your most fulfilling locums memories to date?
In addition to traveling and seeing the country, I’ve also been able to meet a lot of different people. I love working with other cultures and meeting various people. I have had the opportunity to work in a lot of Indian Health Services locations and with Veterans Affairs.
Also, outside of the fulfillment I get from practicing emergency medicine, I enjoy sharing my skills with people who may not be able to get access to healthcare. I believe you can only gain fulfillment on that scale by moving around and working locums.
What makes a locums assignment appealing to you?
I would say the facility itself and the volume of the facility. I prefer a smaller hospital in a rural area. They are less busy so you can provide more patient time. Sometimes they may not pay as much, but it’s worth it for the lower patient volume.
How has working locums changed your perception of healthcare?
It hasn’t changed my perception of healthcare much. From when I was in private practice in Atlanta in the 80s to more recent travels to hospitals out west – regardless of where you go, technology and treatments may change over time, but across the country, it’s still medicine. The difference is the resources. But even then, the small, rural hospitals can transfer patients to regional medical centers – they’re not that far away. All of the big cities have Level 1 trauma centers, so you can have access to resources as well as a full staff. They may have different access to supplies or equipment, but emergency medicine has standardized practices.
Anything else to add?
Yes. I’d like to give a shout out to my recruiter, Pauline Vijayakumar. I’ve worked with a lot of people over the years, and Pauline is exceptionally easy to work with. I like the way she approaches things, she knows how to handle things, and she’s easy to work with.
Many thanks to Dr. Franklin for sharing his experience. Interested in discovering how a locums assignment can fit into your lifestyle? Learn more about our Emergency Medicine opportunities, or read more about the benefits of working Locums.