What it’s like locuming with your fiancée

Doctor couple travelling locum work

It’s a little-known fact that locuming with a partner is easy – hospitals even encourage it. It means they get two happy doctors who are a bit more likely to stick around.

If you want to locum with your husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend or better half, you can! You can even schedule days off together so you can enjoy downtime and travel with your beau. There are lots of benefits for doctors locuming and travelling together.

Dr Maddison Waters met Logan Kratzer at med school in Perth, Australia. The couple love travelling, so locuming together seemed like the perfect fit.

Locuming and travelling together as a couple

“We always wanted to travel,” says Maddison, “both of us had gone from high school into undergraduate uni and then post-grad med school, so we hadn’t really had a gap year as such and we really wanted to travel around Australia. Because we’d only just finished our internship and Logan had just finished his first year of residency, we didn’t have any money so we thought we’d travel and locum.”

The pair did some Google searches and found Medrecruit.

“We didn’t know anyone who had locumed before so it felt like a bit of a risk. But it was awesome. It’s the best thing we have ever done.”

Locuming has enabled them to explore the country – and career and lifestyle options – together. Their first placement was a month-and-a-half in country Victoria. Last year, they locumed in a location they didn’t expect to like – Tasmania.

Locuming in Tasmania

“We worked in Launceston last year, but before that, we’d never worked in Tasmania before. Originally, we left Tasmania and said ‘phew, we’ll never go back there, it’s so cold!’ But then we got halfway around Australia and we kept thinking about Tassie and LG [Launceston General] hospital and we came back and now it is home. We live about two minutes from the hospital, so not much of a commute! It’s great,” says Maddison.

“[…] the thing is in Tassie, you can travel every weekend because things are only an hour or two away and it’s easy to explore all the different areas of Tasmania.”

The pair got engaged in January 2020 and are settling down together in Tasmania for the foreseeable future. Because they spent a long time locuming, they quickly saved up a deposit for a home, and Tasmania’s great lifestyle and affordable homes made Launceston a great option for their first home.

They’ve recently accepted full-time roles and are looking forward to spending more time living in the region.

The benefits of locuming for career progression

Typically, doctors are in PGY3 when they start locuming. Logan was one year above Maddison in medical school, so because Logan was able to locum, Maddison was encouraged to step up too. She’s now PGY3 and a registrar.

“If I was back home, based where I was in Stanley, in Perth, there’s no way I would have been able to step up to registrar at PGY3, but doing locuming has made me very comfortable in being a doctor. I’ve had to move around and do a lot of different things and I’ve been able to step up to registrar a lot earlier than I would have if I’d just had a full-time job.

“It’s allowed us to meet a lot of different people at a lot of different hospitals who’ve given us a lot of different opportunities. Almost every hospital has said: come back and join our training programme and we’ll have you straight away. We’ve been able to advance our career, right up to accepting our new roles here in Tasmania. So, it’s wrong when people say that by locuming you’re stagnating your career – we certainly haven’t. We’ve both been able to step up.”

Tips for doctors: don't believe the stigma around locuming

Maddison says: “don’t be turned off by the stigma around locuming. A lot of people think you’ve got to do what everyone else does: get on a training programme and work at one hospital and make your contacts through that. But that’s just following the crowd.”

Her tips for doctors thinking about locuming include:

  • Be confident in your abilities – you’ll be thrown into new situations, so you should only start locuming once you’re confident in your abilities
  • Be upfront and honest with hospitals – tell them what you can (and can’t do)
  • Locuming is flexible, but you need to be flexible too
  • Don’t be afraid to talk about accommodation options – Maddison and Logan often asked what the budget was for accommodation and then negotiated a good deal with AirBnB hosts so they could travel and locum with their dogs!

Looking to locum with your better half? Give us a call, we’ve helped lots of couples explore the country and further their career together.

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Bethany Rogers
04 May 2021Article by Bethany RogersMedrecruit Editor