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Back in the Urgent Care Clinic – Los Angeles

I’m back in the clinic seeing patients in the urgent care. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen patients face to face; April 2020 – that’s 18 months ago. Even then, it was in a primary care clinic. So let’s talk about finding an urgent care job and how it’s been going.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do once I touched down in Los Angeles. Whenever I’m stateside I feel the urge or pressure to work and make more money. It’s more expensive to live here, that’s one part of it. The other side of it is the pressure to work – it’s something in the air of rushing around and making money.

Don’t worry. I’m not ready yet to give up my nomad doctor ways. But something is pushing me in this direction and so I’m exploring it as an option.

Finding a Gig in Clinical Medicine

I had applied to several larger medical groups but most rejected my application once I hit credentialing. With my history of a 30-day medical license suspension in Oregon, it’s hard to get past HR.

I always have a bit of shame when it comes to that whole fiasco which doesn’t make any sense. It was part of being a doctor and I personally don’t have any shame in what I did. Yet, it’s just right there like a zit on my neck in high school.

So, I was walking around in my neighborhood in LA and stumbled on this cute little urgent care in Eagle Rock. I emailed them my resume and they got back to me right away and set me up for an interview with their medical director.

A few days later I got a credentialing application and we agreed on an hourly rate a little north of $100.

The Credentialing Drama

I’m always hitting my head against the wall trying to figure out when, how, and who to tell about my medical board history during the interview process. I’ve tried everything you can imagine from putting it on my resume to putting it on my Linkedin profile to blurting it out during the interview.

It’s been 5 years since the investigation and it’s still an uphill battle. This last job hunt-round I have decided I’m just going to wing it. I’ll do what feels natural. I’ll bring it up if I’m asked about it and I’ll continue to have it on my Linkedin profile and I’ll mention it to a recruiter.

As I’ve said before, it’s vital that you have a good narrative. And even more important is that you know exactly what to write in your application and what is okay to omit.

I highly recommend running your narrative by a seasoned expert who has dealt with enough medical board investigations and job applications. And also run it by an attorney – I recommend the team over at Medical Justice. They are honest and efficient and they are on our side.

In the end, this particular urgent care group mostly cared that my application would be accepted by their malpractice career. And since I was able to get credentialed with them they took me on.

Finding an Urgent Care Job

I work here with an internist who actually was a specialist before burning out from that. He decided to switch into urgent care medicine and seems to enjoy it and I would say he’s rather good at it based on what I’ve seen of his work so far.

There are a lot of urgent care jobs available, whether online on telemedicine platforms or physical urgent cares. Urgent care work is therefore abundant if you’re interested in it.

I find that contacting local private urgent cares is a better method of finding jobs than working for the larger medical groups. The workflow is definitely different for each and unless you’ve done both you won’t really know what’s the best fit for you.

When it comes to credentialing a private urgent care is definitely better. When it comes to more scheduling options and perhaps more support a larger medical group might be a better fit.

Urgent Care Models

There are many ways to run an urgent care which I’ve talked about before. From a walk-in clinic to a rapid clinic to a high-acuity urgent care.

I know the latter can be intimidating but if you have enough support and can order all the proper tests it’s not too bad. An urgent care is essentially a low-acuity ER.

You may have to stabilize someone for transfer to the ER or a stroke center but you wouldn’t be expected to manage that patient. But you might admit directly from your urgent care.

With telemedicine growing and with the pandemic having pushed off basic healthcare far into the future the need for urgent care access will be massive over the next few years. And insurance groups, HMO’s, and IPA’s will pay for their members to have this kind of access.

Going to Work Again

So, here I am, back in the urgent care. Why am I doing this? No idea. Do I need the money? No. Is it difficult? Fuck yes.

I did my first 12-hour shift yesterday. From lacerations to gout to UTI to COVID-19 patients – it was brutal. I was really emotionally spent at the end of the day. I would have cried if I had the opportunity but as soon as my shift was done my girlfriend picked me up and we went had tacos. There is nothing a good partner and tacos can’t cure.

A part of me has this obsession with making an income and maintaining my clinical skills. I fear that if I lose my clinical skills or give up medicine altogether I will never have a secure income.

How silly this is?! I have more than enough money saved and invested to last me 2 lifetimes. I also have multiple skills outside of clinical medicine to earn me an income. And yet I haven’t been able to let go of my medical career. Send help!

2 replies on “Back in the Urgent Care Clinic – Los Angeles”

Mo,

Good to hear you’re back seeing some patients face-to-face. It’s one part of medicine I’ve found that I missed and glad that right now I still spend about 4 days a month doing clinical work

Hi John. Good to hear from you. It’s amazing how pleasant it can be doing patient care when it’s not overwhelming. I do 2 shifts and I do them back to back per week. On a Sunday I do 9-5 and the next day on Monday I do an 8-8. I have enough MA’s and the acuity is low enough that it isn’t bad. If I drink enough water and pace myself and use all my community resources it’s very doable.

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