Every Family Has that One Member, and in this Family, It's Me

Posted on Wed, Aug 14, 2013
Every Family Has that One Member, and in this Family, It's Me

Emergency medicine is one branch of the health care family. And just like in any family, there’s a cast of characters: some docs love the stability of only working in one place with which they are very familiar.

Then there's me: open for adventure with a desire to see something new every day—which is why I chose the road less traveled (which is, ironically, full of travel): the role of a floating physician.

The float physician’s role is often misunderstood, even by our fellow emergency physicians who have traditional full-time roles in E.D.s.  And, while it’s true that what we do does not fall into the traditional E.M. blanket, it is a MUST in modern day Emergency Department staffing.

Nearly a decade ago when I began floating, most health care professionals were only familiar with the occasional locums physicians—doctors sent by an outside agency to fill staffing needs for a few weeks to a few months. I began doing this as a kind of "internal staffing solver" for EmCare and that’s how my role as a “floating physician” was born.

Floats (as we are so lovingly called) solve staffing problems on a more emergent, or, short-term basis, covering staffing needs that "spring up," as is typical in real life.

Hospital schedules are made well in advance, but then life happens — doctors get ill, retire, or relocate—and floats are there to fill that void.

Because there’s no way to anticipate when these events will spring up, travelling is a major component of this position. As I float, I get to see all different walks of life in many different states and municipalities.  Medicine standards-of-care may be the same nationally, but, seeing and practicing so far and wide exposes you to experiences that you are less likely to have in one locale.

This job isn’t for everyone, but for those who enjoy the excitement of travelling across the country in the name of health care, it can be quite rewarding—for me, it’s like a working vacation.

We’re all physicians—our job is to save lives. But we’re also people who want to enjoy our own lives. Some of us want to work in one location and take the occasional extended vacation, while some us prefer to mix things up and travel more frequently while we practice medicine. Being a floating physician solves the stable doc’s issue by providing the relief necessary when some time off is needed and for those free spirits like me, it provides and endless supply of adventure. Cheers to us all!

dr-mcgann-resized-600.jpgDr. McGann is a regular contributor for EmCare’s blog. He is a Board certified physician in Emergency Medicine.  He began working as a regional float physician for the North Division of EmCare almost 10 years ago, and still operates in that capacity today.  He is licensed in 12 states, with one more currently pending approval.  He is poised and ready to fill in where necessary to assure that EmCare-contracted shifts are always covered. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn!

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