Staff Care recently spoke with Dr. Jose Carranza to learn more about his career and why he enjoys practicing medicine as a locum tenens psychiatrist. Read on as Dr. Carranza tells stories about working locum tenens assignments from California to New York, and treating patients across America.
Why do you like working locum tenens?
I have been working locum tenens since 2007. Each of my assignments has been between two and three months long and in both outpatient and inpatient settings. Locum tenens work is the same as permanent jobs, except that you can travel and meet new people and treat a variety of patients from different parts of American cultures.
The beautiful weather in Coastal California makes it a great place to go any time of the year. My wife and I enjoy the ocean; we love whale watching, taking in the views of the mountains, and touring local wineries. I was impressed with their beautiful beaches and greatly admire the dunes and bird sanctuaries.
I also enjoyed taking trips to the Oso Flaco Lake area, also on the coast of central California. Thanks to two locum tenens assignments in central California, I had the opportunity to eat at wonderful restaurants in Morro Bay and visit the Hearst Castle.
When in upstate New York, my wife and I visited Canada often, and spent three weekends in Ottawa and Montreal, Canada, where we were able to admire their religious art.
What are some of your favorite memories while working on assignment?
Summer time is very hot and humid in Texas, where my wife and I live. During those months we enjoy locum tenens assignments in upstate New York. We have spent several great summers there enjoying the fantastic weather, the opera, symphony orchestra, and visited a great art museum. Once summer turned to fall we would use the weekends to explore the area and see the beautiful shades of yellow and red autumn leaves.
Another favorite memory is from one of my assignments in a very small town of about 5,000 people, but in the clinic there I saw patients from about 14 other towns that are located within the catchment area of this particular mental health center. The patients, although poor, were very intelligent and assertive. I enjoyed very intelligent conversations with several college graduates attending the clinic.
Staff Care: What was a memorable assignment that was professionally satisfying to be a locum tenens physician?
On one assignment in Texas, my patients complained that before seeing me, they had English-speaking psychiatrists who did not understand anything the patients told them, and in despite of that, they were given medications. The patients there were really happy and they were able to speak out all their feelings and problems in their own language with me, as I am bilingual. I also met two patients who were already "labeled" as mental patients who were not really patients, but were attending that clinic because of the lack of understanding of previous meetings and evaluations.
I believe that in all clinical settings, what is most important is to practice good medicine, make good diagnoses and treat the right conditions with the right medications. This is true for locum tenens as well as for any permanent jobs.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.