By Randy Sparks Dec 27, 2016
Just before the holiday season a few years ago, administrators at a small hospital in Virginia were hit with a series of surprises.
With a three-physician neurology team that covered all inpatient consults at the hospital, administrators felt blessed to be fully staffed in that important specialty. College football season had begun and the autumn leaves were still painting the landscape with their oranges and reds. Life was good.
Suddenly, one of the neurologists suffered a massive heart attack and passed away. Upon hearing this news, his partner — another of the team's neurologist, who had been considering retirement — quit the practice to spend more time with his family. And, after hearing this, the third neurologist decided he didn't want to manage the practice by himself, and left to join another group in Washington D.C.
Within a 48-hour period, hospital administrators went from “life is good” to “how are we going to operate without any neurologists?!”
At that same time, almost 2,800 miles away in Berkeley, California, Dr. Akram Shhadeh had just completed a neurology fellowship training module. He was scheduled to transfer to a program in New Jersey in about a month's time, and was seeking something to do until then.
Locums Staffing with a Plan
Fortunately for both the hospital and Dr. Shhadeh, Staff Care team members had been laying the groundwork during the last few months for what was about to come.
Staff Care consultants had already assisted the hospital with locum tenens hospitalist physicians, and a number of other locum physician job searches were also underway. So, when administrators started looking for a locum tenens neurology professional, their first call was to Staff Care.
Dr. Shhadeh also had a relationship with Staff Care. He'd developed a rapport with a Staff Care locum recruiter who knew his particular needs, as well as the type of assignments he preferred. So, when that recruiter called about the hospital neurology assignment, Dr. Shhadeh was confident the recruiter had his best interests in mind.
Within days, the recruiter had presented several locum tenens neurologists to the hospital, including Dr. Shhadeh. The credentialing, logistics, and quality assurance teams sprang into action, mindful of the serious need confronting this hospital. Four different neurologists worked feverishly that fall to cover all of the hospitals' patient needs. That team also included Dr. Joanna Woyciechowska, the first to begin locum tenens coverage, who worked six straight weeks with little to no breaks.
In a short time, Staff Care had provided the resources the hospital needed to meet the neurology needs of its patients.
How a Fast-Thinking Locum Neurologist Saved a Life
While all this alone would make for a pretty great story, it isn't the end. Until now I've described what Staff Care does. The next part of the story is WHY what we do matters.
Later that fall, in the same small town in Virginia, a local businessman and hospital board member was awakened in the middle of the night by his wife. Something was wrong, but she didn't know what. He called 911, and paramedics rushed his wife to the hospital.
Dr. Shhadeh, who had been in town for just two days, was paged for a consult and literally ran across the street from his apartment to the hospital. After evaluating the wife, Dr. Shhadeh determined she was having a stroke and administered TPA — a powerful intravenous drug that breaks up stroke-causing clots, but is only effective if delivered in the first hour or two after symptoms start.
Dr. Shhadeh’s quick thinking saved the woman’s life. That he, or anyone else, was available to do so, is testament to the ability of the Staff Care locum tenens neurology team. Dedicated to going above and beyond for our doctors and healthcare employers, our team thrives on providing premium service in a timely manner. (Meet the Staff Care team of recruiters here.)
But that’s only “what we do.” Knowing we can have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of people across America is why we do it.
Get in touch with our locum tenens neurology recruitment professionals — or any of our other top-flight physician recruitment teams: You can contact us here, or fill out a staffing request form here.
Submit a Locum Tenens Staffing Request
Randy Sparks is Vice President of Business Development at AMN Healthcare, Inc. Staff Care is a company of AMN Healthcare.