My name is Kathy and I am a locum tenens nurse practitioner. Last year with my husband, I decided to leave Florida and start traveling. I was feeling burnt out at my previous job and wanted a change. My husband and I wanted to go to the West Coast and explore our beautiful country!
Originally we meant for Texas to be a half way point to our ultimate travel goal, California. We knew we wanted to visit either Austin or San Antonio, but didn’t know very much about them other than knowing they had good food and music. I took a job as a locum tenens provider working on Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
San Antonio has been a blast! The people are friendly. The cost of living is cheaper than Florida. The food is AMAZING. If you love Mexican or BBQ, there will always be a great meal nearby. Our apartment is across the street from a farmers market, fantastic restaurants, and a culinary institute. There are a lot of outdoor activities- we love bike riding, running along the RiverWalk, and we have even hiked to see real dinosaur tracks! The museums have free admission once a week and many places have live bands. Texas so far has been so much more than just working; we are experiencing a different culture and making new friends.
This past weekend we drove up to Waco to play disc golf, then spent the night in Austin and went to a brewery (named best in Texas, called Jester King) and a highly rated taco truck (called Veracruz). We also went to Ladybird Lake Park, famous for its running trail. On our way back we stopped at Bucees, the biggest gas station I have ever seen!
Regarding my current job, I am so happy this opportunity was available. Working with military service members is one of the most rewarding jobs you can have. Starting out can be difficult; you have to go through an extensive background check, lots of paperwork, and learn a lot about the military if you are not familiar with their customs and rules. Usually government contracts pay a little less than private clinics, they tend to ask for a longer commitment (my contract is 6 months, but could be up to a few years if I wanted), and the paperwork can be tedious.
For me, the positives outweigh the negatives. You don’t get burnt out here the way you do working in private practice or community health centers. I enjoy helping our military members get the care they need and deserve. At this job I have been able to help them in the process of retiring, doing physicals as they are leaving the military, and talk to them about their time in active duty. I have also gotten to learn about the different types of exams and health requirements for the service members. There is a great sense of teamwork with each department and if you need help someone is always willing to help you. In some cases you have the opportunity to fill in at other clinics and learn different skills. I have enjoyed it so much I plan to find my next assignment with the military or VA.
If you are thinking about taking a contract with the military, go for it! You will find that the patients are kind and appreciate your help. Management will not over work you, and everyone is a team player. I recommend traveling to San Antonio as well. Sometimes finding an assignment in bigger cities requires a little more patience, but it is worth it in the end to travel to a place you want to explore.