Dr. Amy Wecker grew up outside of Boston, went to college in New Orleans, medical school in Israel and residency in New York City. After residency she settled in Fort Myers, Florida with a large multi-specialty group that she loved. Seven years later she realized long-term she really wanted to be in Miami so she quit her job and moved to Miami.
Yoga And The Need For More Time
This break in her job gave her the opportunity to explore her other love, yoga. Before starting another full-time job she did a two-month yoga teacher training. When she finished she started working for a group and teaching yoga on the side. The job proved to take more time than she was expecting and she was starting to feel like her life was really out of balance.
“I don’t have kids, I’m not trying to buy a yacht, but time is very important to me. I would have been happy to negotiate something to have a little more time off and maybe make a little less money but there was just no way,” says Wecker. “After a year of it I was at my limit and I went on this yoga retreat to Peru and did a lot of meditating and realized that I could not sustain this anymore.”
Exploring Locum Tenens
After getting home from the retreat she immediately got on the internet and started looking for locums jobs. She knew very little about locums but thought it sounded good and she wanted to learn more. After a long conversation with a recruiter she found herself booked for her first assignment in South Dakota.
“After having just a weekend off I went to South Dakota and I was there for nine or 10 days over Christmas and it was a really amazing experience. I’m an independent, confident person but being there alone really taught me even more about being independent and being confident,” says Wecker. “All of a sudden there I am picking up this rental car in Rapid City and going to this hospital but then it was like, ‘Wow, I can do this. I am able to take care of these people.’”
Locums Offers A Better Pace Of Life
The pace of life and the hospital she was working at in South Dakota changed her outlook. She was seeing half the patients in a day that she would see in Florida and found the opportunity to just go slow and spend time with patients made the job much more fun.
“It’s not fun to just cram all these patients in and you cut corners and you feel like you’re not being a good doctor. It’s not good medicine. It was really fun in South Dakota to have time to at my leisure be a good doctor and then also it was just an interesting experience.”
Returning home she took the month of January off to decompress but in February took her next locums assignment in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She worked two weeks on and two weeks off and got to experience the hospitality and slower pace of life of the South.
“South Carolina was very warm and fuzzy. Everyone was so sweet and so nice and I became very close to everyone that worked there and it was really so perfect because I would go there and work twelve days and then I would come home for the two weeks,” she says.
During those two weeks at home Wecker operated her own private practice for some of her previous patients and also became the medical director for a small anti-aging clinic. She was making on two weeks of locums the same as she used to make in a month so was able to work these other jobs without any sort of financial pressure.
Time For Other Interests
In the space of a few months she went from full-time group practice to working locums part-time, operating her own practice and the clinic as well as continuing to advance in yoga. Yoga has also started to positively impact the way she practices medicine.
“It’s a whole philosophy and it’s a whole way of life which definitely impacts the way that I practice medicine because I’ve gotten to be very Zen and I really believe that stress is so bad for you,” she says. “Things happen in life that we don’t have any control over but we need to decide how we’re going to perceive those things and react to those things. That’s just a little piece that a lot of people don’t get. I’ve learned a lot of things from yoga philosophy that I actually use in my practice.”
Finding Perfect Work/Life Balance
Working locum tenens has helped bring balance back to Dr. Wecker’s life. Now she has time to do yoga, clean her apartment, even go to the dentist. She has more free time than she has ever had in her life and she’s loving medicine more than ever.
“Locums has made a huge difference for me. We just go through life on this concrete path. I remember in college and medical school thinking that it would be nice to take a year off and backpack through Europe but you don’t and there seems to be no time. It’s just work, work, work.”
“I used to talk about this with my first boss,” she says. “He used to always tell me, ‘When you’re 70 you’re not going to turn around and wish you would have worked more.’ For us to devote 100 percent of everything to being a doctor it’s too much, I love being a doctor but I can’t devote 100 percent of my life to that. There has to be a balance and locums has been able to help me achieve that.”