Dr. Matt James, Oncologist Feature
Matt feels the chilly Chicago breeze as he hits mile number six. Matt, an established locum tenens Oncologist, is working in Chicago, IL, for a 6-month assignment and can see Cloud Gate or "The Bean" and Lake Michigan from his apartment window.
Let's rewind to when Matt was just three years old. Matt knew he wanted to become a doctor, just like his dad. Matt has a heart for helping people and pursued a fellowship in Hematology and Medical Oncology. Shortly after graduating from fellowship, Dr. James opened a private practice and was committed to not only treating a patient's disease but to walking them through the treatment. Dr. James believes in individualized treatment specifically for the person sitting in front of him.
The Dairy Farmer
Dr. James shares one of his most impactful memories of a dairy farmer he treated for five years. The farmer, Dave, and his wife would drive 2 hours to the clinic on Sunday evenings and stay overnight for Dave's treatments the following day. In addition, Dr. James and his daughter visited the dairy farm several times to hang out. Dave became like an uncle to Dr. James's daughter. To this day, Christmas cards are exchanged between families, and Dr. James shares how much he values the personal relationships with each of his patients.
Private Practice to Locum Tenens
About two years ago, Dr. James retired from his private practice, pursuing a career as a locum tenens physician. His first assignment was in Maui, Hawaii, where he was able to help patients in need of his care. In his new role as a locum tenens, he's able to leave behind the worries of profit margins and overhead on the business side of medicine and instead focus on patient care and treatment. For Dr. James, the work is still extraordinarily rewarding, even on temporary assignments. He has flexibility with his schedule, the opportunity to share his expertise, continue treating patients in need, and the bonus of traveling to new places.
The Patient is the Priority
Dr. James shares that in a locum tenens role, you usually see a patient mid-treatment. The person is used to seeing a different doctor and may be wary of an "outsider," so Dr. James does all he can to reassure them and aims to establish a trusting relationship. He believes even if you can't treat their disease, you can still treat the patient. Dr. James also has a helpful perspective on his role as a temporary physician and offers some great advice for fellow physicians. He says, "working a locum assignment is like being a guest in someone else's house. Be nice! You are the pinch hitter and can't go into a new role inflexible or rigid in your approach. The priority is the patient – meeting their needs and filling the gap in care so no patient goes unseen. To be successful as a locum, you'll need to get comfortable giving up control and be willing to learn from your colleagues. Recognizing that there may be more than one way of doing something is an opportunity to learn something new and knowledge-share.".
Outside of Medicine
Dr. James has a great number of personal interests, including travel, exercise, photography, and, most importantly, family. He cares for his 90-year-old mother and is a two-time Iron Man competitor. In addition, his daughter got engaged this year, and he is currently helping her plan a destination wedding!
On his current assignment in Chicago, he is sure to be seen running each morning and has already logged over 1,800 miles this year! Dr. James not only talks the talk but feels it's essential that he also walks the walk with his patients, emphasizing the importance of exercise and overall health during treatment.
National Doctors’ Day
In honor of National Doctors’ Day, we are excited to share the story of one of our valued locum tenens physicians, Dr. Matt James. In addition, we thank all physicians for your tireless efforts, commitment, and dedication to helping provide quality patient care. You are the heart of healthcare, and we are grateful for you.
We welcome you to share inspirational stories with us at email@example.com.