Locum Tenens is a Game Changer
Crack. The sound of a baseball connecting with metal ricocheted across the field. As the ball descended neatly in the outfield, a toothy grin emerged on the young batter’s face. Then, Carl Falcone’s appearance hardened to one of determination before he flung the bat to the ground and began sprinting toward first base. Baseball was his first love.
Since staying healthy enough to play was very important, he remembers visiting his family physician, someone who not only kept him on the field, but someone who had a pivotal impact on Dr. Falcone’s medical journey. “I became intrigued by his kindness and how he explained everything. It’s a unique challenge to meet people who aren’t feeling well and help them get better. I always loved science and people so, subsequently, the science of the human became especially intriguing,” he says.
After he nurtured this curiosity, his career path in medicine became just as certain as his love for baseball. One of his first specialty rotations was otolaryngology. He smiles and says, “After going through surgery, internal medicine, and family practice, I noticed that many of the resident otolaryngologists were even-keeled. As I explored the surgeries they performed, I was fascinated by all the intricacies of the head and neck and the fact that we get to use microscopes to try to repair holes in the eardrum.”
A traveling team
Post-residency, Dr. Falcone was one of the few who wasn’t sold on entering a specialty group. “I’ve always been a solo practitioner, and I’ve always enjoyed the freedom of running my own business,” he says. “Luckily, my wife, Lezlie, and I get along so well that she ran the business side for me, which made it even more fun. Since we both grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, we always had the idea to travel, so, that’s what we did.”
Dr. Falcone and Lezlie established a variety of independent practices across the United States. He laughs, “People would say to me, ‘oh you move around a lot,’ and I’d respond, ‘uh, yeah, that’s because we have one life to live!’ There’s a lot of places that you need to see before you call it a day. Most people just become entrenched in one area. Lezlie and I were just never that way.”
In January 2017, Dr. Falcone retired. Reflecting on the decision, he says, “We really enjoyed exploring the country. Then, after a while, you’re thinking, what am I going to do at 63? Lezlie and I talked about going back into private practice, but hospital acquisitions were really changing the healthcare landscape. Then, the idea of locums came up.”
Out of left field
Locums was never on Dr. Falcone’s radar. However, when a recruiter reached out, he explored the practice alternative. After growing accustomed to the freedom of his independent practice years but wanting additional downtime, he felt locums was the perfect fit.
Dr. Falcone speaks to the flexibility. “It’s incredible,” he says. “I can work when and where I want. I have to say, I’ve been relatively lucky throughout my life, but it feels like chance that I got asked to go to Concord, NH, and that I hit it off with everybody enough to be asked to stay for a long-term assignment. The best part of locum tenens is not only the travel, but the ability to continue to help people and practice medicine without the responsibility of being tied to a hospital.”
Dr. Falcone encourages emerging medical professionals to consider locums. “What a great adventure it can be, instead of going from college, to med school, to residency, and then straight into full-time work,” he says. “If I had known that these types of opportunities were available, especially when getting out of residency, I would have practiced locums so much earlier in my career. Then, you can really explore what you like.”
Although he and Lezlie had a unique opportunity early in his career, he sees plenty of possibilities through the locums practice alternative. “Locum tenens gives people a phenomenal ability to explore different parts of the country, practice settings, and hospitals,” he says. “Then, you can work for a few weeks, take some time off, and either go back or explore another state or city. This lifestyle is very exciting and beneficial for a new physician, especially one who doesn’t know exactly what they want to do. What a way to find out.”
In addition to having full control of his schedule, Dr. Falcone says he has been fortunate enough to experience a very personal relationship with his locums staffing partner. “We were invited to the Medicus office and finally got to put all the names to the faces,” he explains. “Everyone is very professional and courteous, and Olivia is just phenomenal. I never feel obligated to fill a shift, and if I have questions, they’re answered. If someone doesn’t know the answer, they find it quickly. It’s been such a pleasure working with Medicus.”
After hearing about their lives filled with hustle and bustle, we asked if Dr. Falcone and Lezlie have another state they hope to cross off their bucket list. His answer was a pleasant surprise. “To be honest, there really isn’t a place we haven’t been to,” he laughs. “New Hampshire is a diamond in the rough, so for the foreseeable future, if everyone continues to get along, I’ll probably just hang out with you guys for a while.”
If you’re interested in exploring locum tenens opportunities, call Medicus Healthcare Solutions at 855.301.0563 to discuss your goals with an experienced recruiter.