Physician Feature: Locum Tenens Anesthesiologist, Dr. H

Dr. H with dog

An Early Dream

Dr. H decided to become a physician when she was about four years old.  A budding fascination with science and medicine grew to become a more serious study starting with her first microscope in grade school.  She even once tried to resuscitate a baby mouse when she was young… saving lives was simply the path she longed to follow. Few of us are lucky enough to find our calling at such a young age, but Dr. H knew where she was heading.

The Intersection of Choices

As anyone can imagine, choosing a specific career within the medical field is no easy task. Through medical school, clinical studies, and residency, sometimes the best match isn’t the best fit. In fact, Dr. H was first matched to an internal medicine residency. However, after a month, she knew internal medicine was not the right fit. Dr. H loved her critical care rotations but did not like being in the office or rounding. A friend of hers, who is a surgeon, suggested Anesthesia as a potential residency option. Dr. H quickly found a passion for Anesthesia. From putting in the invasive lines, doing the TEE for open heart surgery patients, to interacting with any number of patients each day, the constant daily challenges kept work interesting.

All About that Locum Life

Dr. H embraces change, enjoys traveling, and is always ready to face new challenges. That’s why the locum tenens lifestyle is a perfect fit. As a locum tenens Anesthesiologist, Dr. H is able to help care for patients without getting caught up in day-to-day administrative tasks. Dr.H says, “I simply get to be a doctor.” Dr. H appreciates having complete control over her work schedule and enjoys the freedom to travel to new places. She shares that each facility certainly has its own learning curve, but Dr. H appreciates that her anesthesia work is the same no matter where she lands – evaluate, monitor, and supervise patients before, during, and after surgery. Dr. H also shared that her later-in-life dream is to open an animal shelter.

Moments That Make a Mark

Dr. H reflected on one of the most memorable moments of her career and told the story of a cancer chemotherapy patient who had an entire ischemic colon (a disorder that develops when blood flow to the colon is partially or completely blocked). The patient was near death and was rushed to the operating room to have her entire colon removed. After six hours of surgery, giving blood, fluids, and medications, she left the OR and went straight to the ICU with her abdomen still open. It took weeks, but eventually, she was able to have her abdomen closed, was released from the ICU, and brought home. Six months later, the patient returned to the hospital to have her ostomy reversed. Her hair had grown back, and she was sitting up and conversing. Dr. H hugged her and was filled with so much happiness. Seeing a patient near death beat the odds and become a survivor because of a life-saving surgery that Dr. H had a part in — the feeling is unmatched.

Some Free Advice

Physicians and physicians-to-be, “Find a specialty you like and go after it. If you start a career path and figure out you don’t like it, change it. You earned that right. You’ll spend many, many hours of your life doing this work – make sure you enjoy it. When you love your work, the time passes so quickly that you can barely keep up!” Dr. H shares. Once you find your purpose, it is all worth it.

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