Doctors Fill-In Part-Time On Full-Time Basis

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

August 17, 2005

We've all heard of substitute teachers, but what about substitute doctors? Temp work for doctors is part of a growing trend.

John Gergen is a psychiatrist who gets around.

"I think it works out very smoothly. I can get home on weekends if I possibly can," said Dr. John Gergen, a psychiatrist with Locum Tenens.

Gergen has the opportunity to do what he loves, and treat patients in various communities.

"Some of them are rural, and many of them are essentially inner-city," added Dr. Gergen.

Doctor Gergen is used to traveling week-to-week, or month-to-month, to different regions of the country helping to staff hospitals short on staff. He's a temp. One of about 60,000 healthcare professionals who fill-in when needed. For some, it's the perfect fit.

"I prefer about six months [per area of assignment]. This way you get some continuity in the care of patients, and a little bit of opportunity to see [if] what you're doing helping, or not helping [the patient]," said Dr. Gergen.

The 73-year-old works as a contracted doctor with Locum Tenens, an agency suited to recruit healthcare professionals for understaffed hospitals nationwide. It may be unusual for some to see this 30 year psychiatrist filling-in part-time on a full-time basis, but it does have its perks.

"I don't have long term commitments, but I do have very interesting patients," said Dr. Gergen.

For patients, there's an advantage, too.

"We have an opportunity to work with the systems and work the patients, so I think the quality goes up considerably," said Dr. Gergen.

The quality of medical care is assured by the doctor's credentials. Quality patients appreciate from their temporary doctor which is exactly what the doctor ordered.

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