This week, as we celebrate National CRNA Week, we want to take a moment to honor and recognize the unique contributions of over 61,000 Certified Nurse Anesthetists across the United States. In the spirit of celebration, we are excited to highlight two dedicated locum tenens CRNAs. Join us as we explore the paths that led them to become CRNAs and the decisions behind their transition to locum tenens work.

Stephen Fitz, CRNA: Finding Career Flexibility

Stephen, Medicus CRNA Locums

Stephen Fitz's healthcare journey began as a Hospital Corpsman in the United States Navy, specializing as an Operating Room Technician during the Vietnam War. He first encountered CRNAs during this time, and their encouragement led him to pursue a career in the field. 

For over 42 years, Stephen has dedicated himself to being a CRNA. For 14 of those years, he gained valuable experience working in critical care in a large medical center. His journey then continued as an independent contractor in small rural communities, women's centers, and other healthcare facilities. However, after four decades of dedicated anesthesia care, Stephen found himself overworked and nearing retirement.

The transition to working locum tenens brought a new chapter of flexibility to Stephen's career. Opting for this route allowed him to choose his own schedule, enjoy increased compensation, and take vacations with his wife whenever he wished. Additionally, CRNA locum tenens jobs provided Stephen with the advantage of avoiding administrative challenges and enhanced career autonomy.

Beyond the professional benefits, he’s found great fulfillment in the new friendships and connections formed through his locum tenens assignments, sharing, "I have been fortunate to know many people as a result from traveling all over the country, some friends I have formed strong bonds with.". Amidst his travels, one locum tenens location stands out: Littleton, New Hampshire. He highlighted, "The White Mountains have five mountain summits. The hiking was challenging, but the scenery was breathtaking. I was there long enough to enjoy three seasons.”.

Reflecting on the CRNA profession, Stephen believes it goes beyond making a good living. He emphasizes the importance of continuous learning, maintaining a strong work ethic, and, at the end of the day, always being a reliable, committed team member.

Jon Smith, CRNA: A Family-Centric Approach to Locum Tenens

Jon, Medicus CRNA Locums

For Jon Smith, becoming a CRNA started with a love for working directly with people as a nurse. His exposure to the role of CRNAs while working in critical care ignited a passion that led him to apply to graduate school immediately after shadowing a CRNA in the OR.

Describing his love for anesthesia, Jon shared, "I love anesthesia because you still get to work one-on-one with your patient. In anesthesia, I get to use my brain and my hands, and I can get creative in how I deliver anesthesia, which is incredibly rewarding.".

Transitioning to CRNA locum tenens was a seamless choice for Jon, driven by his enjoyment of meeting new people and fearlessness in working in new environments. Additionally, with a young family at home, Jon prioritized a career that allowed him to spend more time with them. "Working locum tenens has given me significantly more flexibility. I've been able to take time off to have nice experiences with my wife and kids.".

The impact of CRNA locum tenens on expanding access to anesthesia services to communities in need is a key aspect that Jon finds exceptionally fulfilling. He shared, "It's incredibly rewarding coming into a facility that was desperate for help and providing them with that relief. The surgeons and staff are generally thankful and appreciative, and it doesn't take long to feel like one of the crew.".

Despite the common belief that locum tenens work involves extensive travel, Jon has found a balance, enjoying the benefits of locum tenens work while staying close to home. He shared, "I haven't had to venture more than 1 hour from my home, so I haven't been very adventurous YET. Thankfully, there has been plenty of work close to home. With young kids, this works incredibly well for our quality of life. I look forward to trying out new opportunities when the time is right.".

For CRNAs thinking about pursuing a career in locum tenens, his advice is simple: "If you’re interested, try it!". When it comes to blending into different hospital or clinic cultures, he highlights the value of adaptability. “You must be flexible. There are many things I am particular about but when I can, I try to adapt to the environment I am in. That makes for a much smoother transition.”.

As we celebrate CRNA Week, the stories of these two locum tenens CRNAs exemplify the diverse and fulfilling paths within the world of certified nurse anesthetists. Their dedication, flexibility, and commitment to patient care embody the spirit of CRNAs making a difference in healthcare every day. Happy CRNA Week from all of us here at Medicus!

If you're interested in a career as a locum tenens CRNA? Explore our open locum tenens CRNA jobs here!