Self-actualization is identified as the highest drive, but before a person can turn to it, he or she must satisfy other lower motivations like physiological, safety, social and esteem needs, respectively.
Embracing ongoing career development can help ensure a satisfying and meaningful professional life. As a locum tenens physician, as with most career paths, you should always consider your growth and development as part and parcel of your career. Take into account these practical guidelines as you navigate your career.
Clinical advances keep you on your toes
Physicians are fortunate to be in a field that is constantly changing. While it may feel daunting at times to stay up to date, lack of intellectual stimulation is never a problem. Keeping up clinically is easier than ever, thanks to the Internet. Online CME abounds in all specialty areas so that you can earn credit whether you are in the office, at home, in a hotel, or en route. Being able to read your favorite journal articles online makes it easy to keep up with the latest medical developments. It is important for physicians to stay current not only in clinical matters but also with advances in information technology. More and more hospitals and clinics are converting to electronic systems, so learning is continual virtually seamless.
The business side of medicine is always a factor
Even for locum tenens physicians, there are business matters associated with working. If you neglect details like submitting time sheets, tracking expenses, and managing income taxes, there could be consequences. While you are not burdened with many administrative tasks, keeping up on the fundamentals of practice management is a wise choice. Locum tenens physicians benefit from observing practice in a variety of settings and geographic locations. Learn as much as you can during temporary engagements; you may want to tap that base of knowledge in the future. And remain diligent to growing your social network.
Interpersonal skills matter
To be human is to grow and change—personally and professionally. How you present yourself, communicate with patients, and perceive your place in the world as a doctor evolves over time. Locum tenens physicians are in the unique position of having new workplace experiences on a regular basis, which offers an opportunity for ongoing interpersonal development. Working in different corporate cultures and with diverse patient populations allows you to sharpen your abilities to adapt and recalibrate your practice methods to meet the challenges of each new situation. Capacity to get along in a variety of situations, practice good bedside manner, and deal effectively with colleagues, are all critical skills for all physicians, but even more so for those who are under scrutiny as the “new” doctors.
The risk of burnout is real
Given a choice to slack off or go the extra mile, most physicians choose the latter. This quality endears physicians to employers and patients but puts them at risk for career burnout. Locum tenens physicians can attest to the fact that a change of scenery can work wonders when it comes to staying motivated and engaged. The locum tenens lifestyle, however, comes with its own challenges, such as the demands of travel and the lack of a local social network. All physicians should heed the warning signs of burnout, some of which include:
• feeling overwhelmed;
• chronic fatigue;
• or depression;
• alcohol or drug overuse; and
• feeling helpless or hopeless
If you think you might be teetering on the edge of burnout, try the obvious remedies first—take a “real” vacation, pay attention to personal health and fitness, spend more time with friends and family, or engage in leisure activities.
Physicians are always in demand
In certain specialties, the supply-demand pendulum swings back and forth, but rest assured that your services are needed somewhere. Should you find yourself on the “wrong” end of the swing in your permanent practice, locum tenens is an excellent opportunity to use your expertise where it is truly appreciated.
As you consider these career constants, try to think of others that may apply to your own professional life.
Constructivist Theory of Career Development – (M.L. Savickas and Vance Peavy)
The constructivist career development “theory” is based on the concepts of “Constructivism” which include the following:
• There are no fixed meanings or realities in the world, there are multiple meanings and multiple realities. Individuals create or construct their own meaning/reality of the world through the experiences they have.
• People “create” themselves and the world around them through the interpretations they make and the actions they take. These “constructs” or perceptions of events may be useful or may be misleading.
• Individuals differ from each other in their construction of events. Two people may participate in the same or similar event and have very different perceptions of the experience.
• People are self-organizing and meaning-makers. Their lives are ever evolving stories that are under constant revision. An individual may choose to develop “new constructs” or write new ”stories“ in their life.
• To be an empowered or fulfilled person requires critical reflection of the assumptions that account for our daily decisions and actions.
This article was created from an original series of articles by Karen Childress. Karen is a Colorado-based freelance healthcare writer