Guest Columnist
How Locum Tenens Helped Me Land My Dream Fellowship
Jul 9, 2013 - 6:33:09 PM

( - When you come from a family of physicians as I have, it is often encouraged to continue on in the family business. In my case, this meant working as a full time OB-GYN in a local facility or private practice after finishing my residency and graduating. However, I felt that going straight into a full-time job would not allow me to fully explore my interests in medicine, try different clinical settings and procedures, or further develop my skills while still so new to the field - a common complaint among recent graduates.

I chose a different path and instead worked as a locum tenens physician following graduation at the age of 29. By working as a doctor that temporarily fulfilled the duties of another, I was able to gain more hands-on experience in a variety of settings and circumstances. I never would have expanded my horizons in such a way had I gone straight from residency to a full-time job.

Last summer, I started an exciting fellowship following my time working as a locum tenens physician, and as a result of my additional experience, was granted a second fellowship at the same facility in Reproductive Infectious Diseases and Maternal Fetal Medicine. The fellowship was highly competitive and throughout the interview process I was told on multiple occasions that my work as a locum tenens is what differentiated me from other applicants.

My locum tenens experience provided the expertise to progress my career and is helping me in my journey to one day becoming the doctor I've always hoped to be. I encourage residents to follow a few simple tips to help them in their path to success:

·         Test the waters before deciding what type of facility or practice is best - from private practices to rural clinics to large hospital systems

·         Learn about the "business" end of medicine through observation and hands-on training - something that is not taught in medical school

·         Take opportunities to travel and explore (as many recent college graduates can do) through assignment work as a locum tenens

Today, I am still working in my fellowships, and the department of obstetrics and gynecology at my institution is encouraging all individuals to look into locum tenens work to build more well-rounded physicians. I plan to continue my work as a locum tenens throughout the end of and following my fellowships. 

Dr. Bassam Rimawi works as a locum tenens with CompHealth


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