I haven’t resolved my feelings towards medicine, yet. Love the science, love the challenge, but hate the system. I have decided to head back to the US for more per diem work in Los Angeles. Will I love it, will it feel like a drag? This is round #2 for me.
I have my flights booked from Santiago de Compostela, Spain to Los Angeles in March, and I have my AirBnb reserved from March until June.
This time around I am going to stay in Culver City, Los Angeles. If anyone is interested in meeting up, email me and we can grab a coffee there.
I’ll come up with a “rock climbing day” for anyone who wants to join me rock climbing in Los Angeles. I’ll announce the date once I land in LA. It’ll be a fun meetup at the the nearby rock climbing gym and we can all meet each other and chat.
Per Diem Work in Los Angeles
There are lots of opportunities to do per diem work in Los Angeles. You can work in the ER’s, Urgent Cares, or Family Medicine clinics.
The patient population is all over the board, it depends on which neighborhoods you work.
Commonly, there will be a lot of underserved people. And if you know Spanish that’s a big plus – but not necessary.
My experience has been that the majority of patients are rather nice in Los Angeles. But they may not be as proactive about their health. That’s the most polite way I can put it.
Cost of Living in Los Angeles
Last time I did per diem work in Los Angeles I got killed financially. Just didn’t anticipate all of the expenses I was going to have.
This time around I’m prepared.
I was able to find an AirBnb for $1,900/month. That’s nearly $6,000 for a 3-month stay in Culver City. That’s a shit-ton of money for a tiny studio.
I could have just rented a room but it wouldn’t have been much cheaper. And I don’t do well renting a room and sharing the house with someone else – tried it before, no bueno.
But, all utilities are included and I don’t have to worry about furniture.
Uber, baby. Loved having a private chauffeur last time. I get to listen to my music and be on my laptop and leave the driving to someone else.
I figure about $25 per work-day for commuting expenses. If I do a 4-day work week then that’s $100/week or $400/month.
The cheapest rental car I could find was in the $700/month range. That doesn’t include parking, gas, insurance, or the risk of any damage to the vehicle.
I spent a lot on food last time. This time around I’ll be cooking at home.
There is a grocery store near me and they have grocery delivery as well. I will have a small kitchenette in my AirBnb so I can make everything I need to not eat out.
Not sure how frugal I want to be on this trip. Am I gonna make my coffee at home or lounge at a cafe and enjoy it there?
There is a rock climbing gym nearby so I’ll pay for a 1-month membership there.
That’s all I need to feel active. And Culver City is a beautiful city to walk around in. I’ll get the rest of my daily activities just going for strolls.
I’ll try to get together with friends and have a coffee out and about, here and there.
But since I’m paying a lot for housing and the cost of the flight to go there, I don’t want the stress of dining out and going out for expensive drinks with friends.
I’ll put on my frugal hat and come up with less expensive ways to spend time with my friends there. Maybe go for walks and picnic at parks. We’ll see.
I got my ticket booked for $1,000 from Santiago de Compostela to Madrid, and from Madrid to LAX with a direct flight on Iberia.
Per Diem Income
For my per diem work in Los Angeles I’ll probably earn around $850/day at the Community Health Center. It’s very low but they may not be able to afford to pay me more.
I’ll certainly haggle for a higher pay or see if they will pay for part of my housing and travels.
At $850/day, working 4 days a week, I should be able to earn around $40,000 for these 12 weeks.
I will be arranging all of my per diem work through a fabulous staffing agency, Tracy Zweig. She’s the best staffing company I’ve ever worked with and she genuinely cares about where she will place you. I highly recommend her.
Testing My Love For Medicine
The reason I am making this temporary move to Los Angeles is to test and see how I feel about practicing medicine in the US. Am I done with it? Is there some love left?
My ultimate goal for now is to work on getting my medical license in Spain. It would be a great place for me to work in and I can see myself living a semi-retired life here.
Alternatively, if I somehow rekindle my passion for medicine in LA, I would consider giving a move back to the US some thought.
For now I’m able to make enough money doing my digital nomad physician work here in Spain. In fact, the ease of this income is what has caused so much doubt as to why the hell I’m uprooting myself from my beautiful city in Spain to go stay in LA.
But being a digital nomad physician is exactly this – being able to go live in various places and enjoying the adventure.
I don’t want to look at this as a chore, rather something interesting and unique. Something which might offer me some perspective in the future.