Saturday, November 27, 2010

Where in the World?

As some of you may know, I’m currently spending some of my time as a “locum tenens” physician. What this means is “Rent-a-Doc.” There are any number of agencies out there that recruit physicians for short-term assignments in ER’s across the country, and as one of a relative handful of residency-trained, board-certified emergency physicians I’m fortunate to be a relatively hot commodity. This is why, after posting my resume online a few months ago, I had forty-three different recruiters from thirty-one different agencies (believe me, I counted) all vying to be my new best friend. Nice for your ego, but still you can only tell the same story so many times.

As far as I can tell, job requirements for a physician recruiter include amiability, persistence, and an ability to guilt the recalcitrant physician into working places he or she would never care to go. (See Palms West Hospital, Loxahatchee, Florida). The other thing that’s interesting about the process is that knowledge of geography is apparently not part of the job description. I had stated in my profile that I was interested in jobs in Northeast Florida, within about an hour driving distance from Daytona Beach. As a result of this detailed geographic preference, I have been told of opportunities in Ft. Lauderdale (241 miles), Tallahassee (258 miles), Pensacola (451 miles), Alabama, Indiana, Missouri, and Ohio. But perhaps I’m being harsh. After telling one of the recruiters that Miami (260 miles) was not really worth a daily commute, he honestly admitted, “We’re based in South Florida. We don’t get around very much.”

(Interesting note: If you do a MapQuest search for directions from Daytona Beach to Miami, step 13 notes “Welcome to the UNITED STATES,” which pretty much confirms everything everyone up here north of I-4 always suspected about Miami. And while we’re on the subject, a real geography story. Jim Cramer, an old high school friend, posted on Facebook that the soccer team from The Netherlands had a particularly hard road to the World Cup finals because they had to play two extra games against Holland and the Dutch. I’ve had to explain to any number of folks that it’s all the same place. I was not, however, able to pull off a follow-up story telling the same folks that people from Albania are known as Albinos, although on occasion I have been able to stress that people from Belgium are known as the Belch.)

So if you’re a frustrated physician who’s had a rough few weeks and needs your ego stroked, by all means put your name out there on the internet. It’s amazing what will turn up...and that on closer examination, there’s often no place like home. At least you can find it on a map.

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