In the world of healthcare, finding the elusive balance between work and personal life has often been a challenge. The demanding schedules, on-call duties, and weekend shifts can cast a shadow on even the most passionate physicians, taking some of the joy that medicine once brought them.

During the Anesthesiology Annual Meeting, Shannon Peterson, Vice President at Medicus, Dr. Paul Hoehner, Locum Tenens Anesthesiologist, and his wife, Sheryl, presented at the Center Stage event, Pursuing Passion: Discover the Freedom and Balance of the Locum Tenens Lifestyle. During the presentation, Dr. Hoehner shed light on his fascinating career journey, one that not only rekindled the magic of medicine but also breathed new life into the concept of work-life balance.

Dr. Hoehner's career story is nothing short of inspiring, a testament to the transformative power of locum tenens—an avenue that not only reignited his passion for medicine but also allowed him to explore a second career.

A Remarkable Career Journey


Dr. Hoehner has an extensive professional history spanning more than three decades in the field of anesthesiology. However, it was a pivotal turning point that truly shaped his exceptional career.

While working at a prominent hospital in Maryland as a permanent anesthesiologist, Dr. Hoehner set out to obtain a master's degree and Ph.D. in medical ethics. However, the rigors of his full-time role were formidable obstacles. The demands of coursework were manageable, but it became nearly impossible to balance both when it came to conducting in-depth research and dissertation work. This was the driving force behind Dr. Hoehner stepping away from his permanent position and venturing into locum tenens work.

A locum tenens career granted him the freedom to set his own schedule, seamlessly fitting into his academic pursuits. Dr. Hoehner candidly shared, "A lot of people go into locums work for work-life balance and flexibility. For me, that was true, and locum tenens allowed me to pursue a second career.".

Today, Dr. Hoehner wears multiple hats; he has been working as a locum tenens anesthesiologist for six years, teaches residents and fellows, has published textbooks, designed curriculums, and even ventured into a second master's degree program. His story showcases the remarkable versatility that a career in locum tenens can offer, demonstrating that it's possible to thrive with multiple careers.

Prioritizing Work-Life Balance


One of the most significant challenges in traditional medical practice is the struggle between burnout and finding a healthy work-life balance. Dr. Hoehner revealed how locum tenens offered a lifeline in this regard, expressing, "locums work has given me more control and a way to get my time back, which is so important. The most significant impact of burnout is the loss of autonomy and time. Working for Medicus locums has brought autonomy back into my schedule. I can use that to spend time with my family, pursue other interests, and even engage in a second career. I now enjoy practicing medicine more than ever before."

Dr. Hoehner's wife, Sheryl, shed light on the personal toll that a W2 anesthesiologist career can take on family life. The countless missed birthdays and anniversaries had left a void in their lives. However, locum tenens gave them the freedom to reclaim their family time. Sheryl shared, "We look a calendar year ahead, plan the weeks we want off, and he works the 24 weeks we have chosen - no call, no holidays, no weekends. It's revolutionized our lives. I have a new husband, and that's been the beauty of locums for us.".

Over the past six years, their marriage has thrived, and they've had the opportunity to spend more quality time together as a family. Sheryl joyfully reflected, "We've been married almost 39 years, and we've had more time together in the last 6. We were really short-changed before, and now we're able to spend more time as a family.".

Dispelling Myths and Misconceptions


During the presentation, Dr. Hoehner addresses some of the misconceptions surrounding locum tenens. He encouraged new physicians fresh out of residency and fellowship to consider it as a viable career option, saying, "I wish I had known about it when I started. I think it's very easy to transition from graduating residency to working locums. It's the best way to gain experience without making a commitment.".

He highlighted the opportunity to explore different practice settings and locations without the pressure of a long-term commitment. Dr. Hoehner emphasized how locum tenens allows new physicians to "rent" their experience and discover what truly resonates with them. There is always the option to transition from locum tenens to permanent positions.

Dr. Hoehner's career journey is a testament to the creative and fulfilling potential of locum tenens. He remarked, "I work 24 weeks a year clinically; the other 28 weeks are my time. During that time, I was able to publish a medical textbook on medical ethics, designed a curriculum for Grand Canyon Nursing School and taught there, got my dissertation published, had 6-7 peer-reviewed articles published in the first two years, and I'm in another master's degree program, taught courses as an adjunct, and I work alongside the Christian Medical Dental Societies medical ethics committee. The irony is I had to quit academic medicine to actually do academic medicine. As a locum tenens, you can be very creative, and it can be very worthwhile.".

Medicus: A Supportive Partner


Throughout his remarkable journey, Dr. Hoehner praised Medicus for their unwavering support. He emphasized that partnering with Medicus "has been phenomenal.". He explained, "When people talk about locum companies, people say, oh, you work for Medicus, and I always say no, Medicus works for me. They have my back. They take care of us when we travel, handling all the logistical details, from housing to travel. I don't have to have awkward conversations with the hospital administration or chairmen; Medicus is the middle man, and I'm one step removed from the hospital, which makes all the difference in the world. I've gotten to know everyone at Medicus, and they brought me out here to talk with you all. I do it willingly because I really believe in what I do and in the company, and I say that because they've supported me for six years, and I've had a blast.".

The support provided by Medicus ensures that physicians can seamlessly transition into locum tenens, pursue their passions, and embrace a work-life balance that reinvigorates their love for medicine. Dr. Hoehner's success story, with Medicus as a steadfast partner, is a shining example of how the right support system can turn a career into a lifelong journey filled with fulfillment and achievement.

Dr. Paul Hoehner's journey as a locum tenens anesthesiologist is a testament to the transformative power of this unique career path. His story dispels myths, emphasizes the importance of work-life balance, and showcases the endless possibilities that locum tenens offers to physicians. It serves as a beacon of hope for those seeking to rekindle the magic of medicine while maintaining a fulfilling life outside the hospital walls.

To learn more about a career as a locum tenens anesthesiologist, contact us below.