Locums life – the traveling NP

Best of both worlds

It looks like sometimes I can have the best of both worlds; spending time with my patients (and hopefully helping to improve their lives/ restore wellness) while having the opportunity to travel, to interview and observe surgeons from around the world.  It’s been a difficult balance because it’s hard to find nurse practitioner positions that allow the sort of flexibility I need to continue my other (pursuits?)

Nurse Practitioner/ Medical Writer?

I love being a nurse practitioner but I also see myself as a writer so it’s hard to relegate my journalistic endeavors to the little corner known as ‘hobby’.   In fact, I feel that my travels are an essential counterbalance to my daily practice in nursing and cardiothoracic surgery.  My travels, particularly into cardiothoracic surgery in other locations – give me grounding and perspective.  Otherwise, without continuous effort – things can become too routine, too “by rote”.  While it’s critical to stay-up-to-date in medicine; it’s also crucial to continue to think about what we are doing – to get away from the ‘cookbook medicine’ of algorithms and protocols every so often.

Is it all about the protocol?

Protocols and algorithms based on ‘evidence-based practice’ are highly useful but they aren’t the only consideration when it comes to patient care.  Patients are individuals – and care needs to be individualized to each person’s situation and needs – which is where protocols often fail.

So it’s also helpful to see other variations in practice.  Sometimes the ways that other people/ hospitals/ groups practice isn’t just different; it’s better.  Maybe it’s not better for every situation, and maybe it shouldn’t replace the current standardized protocols at your hospital – but it might fit the needs of some of your individual patients.

But you have to be more that open and receptive to the idea of variations in practice – you have to be aware of different practices.   While conferences, lectures and publications may present and discuss different practices, the best way to learn about and see different practices – is to go there.  

But how/ when can a working nurse practitioner find the time to see different practices?

Locum tenums

Both, now I have found a way to see and experience this on both a national and international level.  I’ve begun practicing as a locum tenums (or temporary) nurse practitioner at different facilities in the United States.   I work for a few (or several) months at different hospitals and practices across the USA – giving me a spectrum of care within a basic framework of American medicine; from rural or small-town surgery programs to big-city/ metropolitan or academic settings.

In between assignments – with careful planning and budgeting, I can continue my international travels.. So far it seems ideal..

fwy bw

Coming to a city near you..

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