“The path to our destination is not always a straight one.” ~ Barbara Hall
Debbra M. is a certified Physician Assistant (PA) who had never heard of locum tenens until she received a call from a Barton Associates recruiter. “After talking with my persistent, driven, and very likeable recruiter for less than a half hour, I decided to give locums a try,” she said. “I’ve never regretted that moment!” Debbra is no stranger to trying new things. Before she began her career as a PA, she pursued an acting career.
For almost 20 years she had many leading roles and even produced a stage production at a reservation in New Mexico before moving to Hollywood to try out her luck in film and television. Working on the soap opera General Hospital was her ticket to becoming a member of the professional Screen Actors Guild. Over the years, while working a series of odd jobs, Debbra realized that she lacked the feeling of fulfillment that she needed from her career. After much self-reflection, Debbra decided to embark on a new chapter in her professional life.
Becoming a PA
Debbra’s Grandmother was a great influence in her life, and had always encouraged her to go to college. Debbra decided to go back to college to finally get her Bachelor of Arts degree, and apply with Los Angeles Police Department. During her police academy training, Debbra developed a pulmonary embolus and was hospitalized. This experience was the most important turning point in her life, as she became incredibly fascinated and amazed with how the heart and lungs function. It was here that she discovered her true calling, and ultimately decided to become a PA. As a PA, Debbra is able to meet a wide range of individuals of all ages and from all walks of life. “This work is such a privilege, as I get to know and care for people, families, teenagers, veterans, precious babies, toddlers and the elderly. Since this is such a global environment we live in at this time, I am able to meet and treat people from many corners of the planet,” she said. Debbra takes a more holistic approach to healthcare, and truly focuses on each individual patient and what they will need in order to lead healthy lives. She takes great pride in helping patients become more proactive in his or her health and preventive care, and considers herself a member of the “patient’s team”. “Caring for an individual or family and making a positive difference in their life or lives medically as a PA motivates me every hour on the hour while at work,” stated Debbra.
Discovering locum tenens
After having an open and honest discussion with her recruiter, Debbra was attracted to the lifestyle that locum tenens work could provide. She explained, “I decided to do locums work, as I was hoping to ‘design’ my personal schedule around my work schedule.” She continued, “Some of my requests are to find work within 4-5 hours from my home. Sometimes my request is to only work two days out of the month, due to traveling or other commitments, and with locum tenens I have been able to do just that!” Debbra described her first impression of locums work as “friendly and satisfying.” Debbra was most surprised by how smoothly her transition into new facilities went. “It can be nerve-wrecking starting at a new facility and not knowing anyone. Each new job site, I get the initial jitters, but, as always, within the first few hours they soon cease, and the day flows.” Debbra is now licensed in two states, soon to be three, and is able to take on assignments within 4-5 hours of her home.
As a locum tenens PA, Debbra enjoys being able to travel the country and make a positive difference in the communities that she serves, especially those communities that may be facing a healthcare provider shortage, or those that have limited access to healthcare. Debbra stated, “That first day working on site as a locum, I was so happy! I felt fulfilled for the work and joy shared that day with the patients and staff, and I had hope that everything was going to go well with doing Locum’s work. I appreciate the days I work, and I love the days I choose not to work. I also must admit…receiving that first pay check was like a cherry on the cake.” Working with Barton Associates as a locum tenens PA has afforded Debbra the ability to control her schedule and maintain a healthy work-life balance, without working the same job every Monday through Friday.
“My recruiter is always so flexible with my requests, and open to any thoughts or questions I might have. He has my best interests at heart.”
When Debbra is not working or traveling the country, you can find her visiting with her loved ones, reading CMEs, taking in a concert, camping, planning her next international adventure, and checking in on a patient or two. She feels “complete,” and while her path to becoming a locum tenens provider was not a straight one, she is able to pull from all of her life’s passions and experiences to make positive and real differences in the lives of others.
If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of a locum tenens career, please check out the Barton Difference page.