Dr Dave Homewood: "My locum year and rediscovering music"
In an ever-evolving healthcare landscape, it has become increasingly common for doctors to consider non-traditional career paths. One such option is working as a locum doctor. We caught up with Dr Dave Homewood to find out about his locum year off which reinvigorated him and allowed him to rediscover his love of music.
In 2021, after finding himself living a unidimensional life spent almost entirely in the hospital, Dave retrofitted a van and headed off on a locum year travelling around Australia.
"I think one of the things I loved most about my locum year was that I rediscovered lots of my passions that I have, whether it be surfing, travelling, or music." Dave explained.
One of the most attractive aspects of working as a locum doctor is the flexibility it affords. Locum doctors can choose their assignments, allowing them to determine the duration, location, and frequency of their work. This flexibility can be particularly beneficial for those seeking a better work-life balance, as it provides the opportunity to take extended breaks or pursue personal interests outside of medicine.
"I think having the time to let your passions flourish is really important in life. And for me last year, I certainly had that. I think it reinvigorated me and recharged me."
Now Dave is re-entering his specialty training with a new outlook. " I'm reentering the rat race as it were to try and get on to surgical training. But I'm doing it happy, invigorated, and excited. I just can't get enough of it. Because I think I've built a good base. I'm really satisfied with what I've done last year, the things I've seen, the jobs that I've worked with places I've been to."
Working as a locum doctor offers exposure to a wide range of clinical settings and patient populations. This experience can foster professional growth by allowing doctors to learn from different healthcare systems and adapt to various medical environments. Such exposure can enhance clinical skills, broaden perspectives on patient care, and ultimately lead to a more well-rounded physician.
"These experiences that I've had. It's given me the mental fortitude, I think, to take on nearly anything."
Dave couldn't recommend a locum year more, one of the stand-out parts for him for rediscovering his love of music.
"Just having time to play music, which has always been something that I've loved, but it's something that you know, the never-ending task of optimal patient care, which sufficiently eroded my personal time and space. And then I just didn't have time to prioritise it as I wanted. I sort of lost it a bit. And I think the thing for me that's been really exciting is I've been able to re-engage with that and reconnect and play more music."
Taking a year off to work as a locum doctor can offer numerous benefits, from increased flexibility and work-life balance to professional growth and networking opportunities. While it may not be the ideal choice for every physician, locum work can provide a unique and rewarding experience that enriches both personal and professional lives. For those willing to embrace the challenges and opportunities that come with working in diverse clinical settings, a year spent as a locum doctor can be a transformative and fulfilling experience.