Keep the Patients, Lose the Call: Locum Tales from the Road

Locum Tenens Tales from the Road

James Long, M.D. (Family Practice) shares his locum tenens story.

Prior to locum tenens work, I practiced in a rural area for more than 40 years. When I retired I was ready to give up the call, but not contact with patients, so I started doing fill-in work for various locum tenens companies and have enjoyed doing just clinic work — especially leaving at the end of the day and not having to carry a beeper.

I have worked in locum tenens capacity since I retired in 1995 and have worked in many interesting places and met a lot of wonderful people. Also, my wife accompanies me and enjoys becoming familiar with different areas of the Midwest. Most of my work has been short-term, but I did work for a month at Offutt Air Force Base and enjoyed working with military personnel, although it was different. It was great working with young enthusiastic people. I worked at one clinic that was right on the Mississippi close to a casino, and sometimes some of the personnel would race down to the casino and play blackjack over their noon hour.

Most of my work has been in smaller communities in Nebraska and Iowa, and most of my enjoyment has been working with different people and meeting interesting patients. One of the drawbacks has been the lack of follow-up of some of the interesting cases I've seen. I think locum tenens practice has been very interesting for me and for my wife, and I think it would be a great satisfaction to anyone who is about to retire or for a doctor who has just finished training and is looking for a place to establish a practice.

If you would like to share your own “Tale from the Road,” please do so in the comments below, or email them to us at

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