Unscripted | Episode 7

From Residency to the Road: Xunda Gibson’s Journey as a Traveling Doctor

In this episode of Unscripted, host Bryce Curry sits down with Dr. Xunda Gibson to delve into an unconventional medical career path: becoming a traveling doctor. Dr. Gibson shares her extensive journey from her internal medicine residency to embracing the flexibility and variety of locum tenens work. This episode is packed with valuable insights for medical students, residents, and fellows considering alternative career options.
Dr. Gibson opens up about the importance of mentorship, trusting your intuition, and navigating the various challenges of medical school and residency. She also discusses the burnout many doctors face and how transitioning to a traveling doctor role has helped her find balance and autonomy in her career. Learn about the logistics, benefits, and opportunities that come with being a travel doctor, including how to get started and the freedom it offers.

Whether you’re contemplating your next step in the medical field or seeking ways to combat burnout, this episode provides a comprehensive look at a fulfilling, flexible career option that might just be the perfect fit for you.

Published on
June 28, 2024

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Embracing the Nomadic Doctor Life with Dr. Xunda Gibson (Ep. 4)

Unscripted is a podcast that focuses on candid conversations with medical professionals

Bryce Curry: Hi. Welcome to unscripted. I’m your host, Bryce Curry, and in this series, we have candid one on one conversations with medical professionals to learn more about their medical journey. Common struggles faced by doctors today in hopes to encourage you throughout your residency or fellowship as you make some big decisions. On today’s episode, I have a great conversation with Doctor Gibson, and we get a chance to learn more about one alternative to a traditional path in a medical career, and that is being a traveling doctor and all that that entails on this episode of unscripted. Hello, everybody. Welcome to this, episode of unscripted. we aim to feature, doctors and medical practitioners across the country, and to encourage you, our audience, those that are in medical, school, residency, and fellowship, working your way through the medical journey. and on our podcast here with unscripted today, we have, Doctor Gibson. Welcome, Doctor Gibson. Thank you for joining me.

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Thank you. Glad to be here.

So, to start off, what I’d like to do is just give you a moment to talk

Bryce Curry: So, to start off, what I’d like to do is just give you a moment to kind of talk a little bit about yourself and, kind of your background, I think, would be a good place to start.

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Sure. So my background is I am trained as an internist. So my residency was in internal medicine. I grew up in rural, rural south of this country. attended undergrad in Alabama, ventured out to attend medical school at the University of Kansas Medical center in Kansas City, which was a great experience for me. And at the beginning of my journey, I wanted to be, or I thought I wanted to be a urologist. So if the advice of a mentor, I made my way to, Miami, Florida, to the University of Miami Jackson Memorial Hospital to do a sublim internship in urology. I applied to the program, didn’t get accepted, and decided that I liked Miami and, I would stay, but I chose internal medicine instead of general surgery. Okay, fast forward. Completed that internship and then made my way to California to complete my internal medicine residency. So that’s my schooling background.

Bryce Curry: Very cool.

Would you encourage residents to seek out mentors on their own

And so there’s moments, as you are working through your educational journey, where mentors sound like, or a mentor guided you. could you unpack that just a little bit? Because our audience, again, our individuals that are in that moment, kind of. I’d love to kind of hear from you the importance, or, you know, would you encourage residents to seek out mentors on their own? Or does it kind of happen within the institutions? Or what’s your advice to a resident right now that might be wondering, like, hey, I have a lot to navigate through. I have family. I have friends that give me their opinions. I have my own thoughts. How did you kind of lean, into mentors to help kind of maybe navigate some of the tough decisions that you had to make?

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Great question. Some schools do offer, like, a somewhat pairing for mentors, but a lot of schools don’t. And I think it’s more challenging today for schools to, offer that service. So I was fortunate to attend a medical school that actually had a program that matched medical students with residents, with interns and their. And then those residents and interns matched us with attending physicians. So it created an environment for you to easily reach out to a potential mentor. Not to say that they were all available, but it did create an easier environment today. I know it’s not as easy for medical students or in terms of residents, to perhaps reach out. I would say, if there’s someone m or if there’s a field and you’ve identified a person that you potentially relate to, approach them. Don’t approach them in the middle of rounds, but perhaps approach them after round


Dr. Xunda Gibson: and just express your interest. But it has to be a genuine interest. And, just ask, you know, can they provide some insight? But it can’t just be a one time approach. It has to be something that’s more, continuous so that that potential mentee can see. Excuse me, that potential mentor can see that you’re truly interested.

Bryce Curry: Yeah.

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Most. Most doctors, most attending physicians who have someone approach them and they’re truly interested, wholeheartedly embrace them.

Bryce Curry: And that’s, such a key point. And it’s something that I know as we. We’ve had the. I’ve had the pleasure of talking to, many doctors, across our influent network, from a guest perspective or our podcast hosts are on unscripted. And there is, this kind of reoccurring theme for someone like me that is not in that community or has gone through that much education and that journey, such as yourself, that there is this sense, for the most part, that there are, people ahead of you that are generally willing to help or give insight or perspective. There’s this kind of mentorship, m m and I think it speaks, I’m assuming, to the community that you guys all have this kind of deep desire to help other people. I mean, for the most part. Right.

I’d like our audience to hear about how you’re approaching patient, um, care

And so that leads me to a question of kind of maybe what got you into medicine or what, if you wouldn’t mind just kind of sharing what. What kind of led you into being a, you know, pursuing, being a doctor. And then, let’s go ahead and start talking about kind of like what you’re doing now and kind of, I’d like our audience to hear about how you’re approaching patient, care, as a traveling doctor as well.

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Sure. And let me just backtrack to that initial question about mentors and mentees, etcetera. If you are a medical student and you do reach out to an attending requesting guidance, and they kind of back away from you, or they’re not interested, that’s okay. Just find someone else. So don’t be dissuade by the fact that one person turns you down. There are multiple others.

I remember thinking I wanted to be an anesthesiologist in high school

Now, back to your second question.

Bryce Curry: That’s good.

Dr. Xunda Gibson: I know most doctors have, like, a pivotal point where they can say that they knew for sure that they wanted to be a doctor. But for me, what I remember is being in junior high school, in high school, thinking that I want to be an anesthesiologist. Now, I don’t know if I wanted that because I thought the word was cool or what, but that’s what I remember. So, as I continue along the path, I knew I wanted to be in a profession that helped people. And so from that junior high to high school period where I thought I wanted to be an anesthesiologist, somehow I found myself thinking, no, I want to be a psychologist. I want to talk to people, I want to help them with their problems, etcetera. And, once I entered undergrad, I knew I didn’t want to do that anymore. And I surrounded myself with premed students who all had a known path, or so they thought. And so that kind of propelled me to think a little bit more about what I truly wanted to do. And then I ended up on the path of being, or thinking that I want to be an obstetrician. Until I did my first ob rotation. And I was like, oh, no, this is not for me.

Bryce Curry: Okay.

Dr. Xunda Gibson: And, then I found myself really, like, in surgery, and did, a rotation in medical school with urology. And I thought that’s what I wanted to be. And I still like surgery. However, that wasn’t the path for me. That wasn’t the path?

M so truly, if you think you want to specialize in a certain profession

Bryce Curry: If you could maybe share a few, how did you, like, was there a way that you kind of m evaluated those feelings or decisions? I mean, obviously, looking at these different types of, specific types of medical care, was it just kind of a, ah, feeling that you had? Was it something that you were. I’m just looking for maybe some advice that we could give to residents right now that might be at that crossroads that you were. And, I’d really love for you to maybe if you have just a couple tips, or suggestions to what’s the guiding light there? Is it trust yourself? Is it lean into a group of individuals that you seek advice from? what, what helped you navigate through some of those big decisions?

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Trust yourself. M so


Dr. Xunda Gibson: truly, if you think that you want to specialize in a certain profession and maybe that’s what you’ve had in your head and maybe perhaps that’s what your parents want you to do, and then you find yourself in a rotation, and it doesn’t sit well with you. Don’t ignore that. That’s your intuition guiding you. So that was key for me as well. Could I have stayed in urology maybe? I don’t know. Probably not, now that I think about it, probably not. But it’s that gut feeling, and it’s also what you can tolerate. So if you think that you want to be a surgeon and you don’t like blood, then of course, you, can’t be a surgeon. Right? But if you’re just, if you can and you’re deciding between do I want to be a trauma surgeon? Do I want to be a general surgeon? Do I want to be a colorectal surgeon? Any of those things when you are in a rotation and you’re doing it outside of the long hours, because it. The hours are always going to be long, but if you are there, you’re taking care of patients and you don’t think about anything else but what you’re doing in that moment, then that’s your guiding light. That is your guiding light because this is what you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life. So you can’t be, you don’t want to find yourself in a, specialty where you’re constantly just watching the clock to see, you know, when’s the last patient I’m going to get through or I don’t really want to be talking to this patient about this. You know, it needs to be something where you can do it and you don’t think twice about it. And at the end of the day, you’re content. That’s what matters.

Bryce Curry: M such good advice, for those that are going to be listening to this, and, I want them to be encouraged by what you’re saying and that you can trust yourself. But also there’s probably a bit of, self evaluation and humility that goes into that and looking at what is the trajectory of my career, what’s fulfilling for me and what does that look like down the road? leads me to a question, around like, like burnout. do you, do you have you faced burnout and, and how, how have you addressed, you know, the situation where you might find yourself in, you know, I’m doing this for five years and I don’t know if I want to keep doing it or I’m going to try something different with, you know, my profession. and I think that gets me back to one of the things I want to make sure we talk about kind of what you’re doing right now with, being a travel doctor as well, and we can kind of unpack that.

M thinks being a doctor contributes to burnout

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Yeah, great question, and a lot to unpack in that question. So you can do what you do and love it. And I think most doctors do what they do and they love it. And what I always say is, and this is a true testament, is taking care of patients for me is easy, it’s natural, it’s what I love to do. It’s all the other stuff that you have to manage. Being a doctor, that takes away from that. And to me, that’s what leads to burnout. So it’s the insurance is, it’s employees, it’s payroll, it’s all of that that goes along with that. And even if you don’t have your own practice, it’s still issues with administrators, so many other things outside of actual patient care. M personally, I think that that’s what leads to burnout for me. I always knew that I wanted to work for myself, without a doubt. So out of, residency, I took a job with a company for maybe a, ah, year and a half, just to kind of get my grounding. And the new state that I was in. And then after that, I’ve always been pretty much on my own. In that comes a lot of responsibility. So at one point I had a private practice. It was more of an urgent care, primary, care combination. So lots of responsibilities, lots of equipment to manage, lots of staff to manage, and of course I had a team, but in the wake of medicine today and how things transitioned, I, found myself really struggling with insurances, I’ll be honest, that was, the hangup. So you can take care of patients, you submit all of your necessary paperwork, but then you still have to wait for payments


Dr. Xunda Gibson: and so that can have a snowball effect sometimes at the end of ten years, eleven years of doing that, I just decided that I need to pivot in my career as an internist, and I’m an internist that likes acute care. So I did urgent care in the office, hospitalist admissions. I’ve been at ER attending at times, so I always like the acute care portion of that. And, but I can do both the chronic care as well. But I decided I wanted to pivot, and I pivoted because I would be sitting in my office at the end of the day thinking, okay, again, the patients are easy. But I found myself being consumed with so much other stuff outside of patient care, and I tolerated it for many years. And then I decided just, I want to listen to my gut m and make a change. So what I decided to do was to sell my practice, and with that comes a lot of extra burden, too, because you have to shut everything down and transition everyone out. And. But I made the decision against a lot of naysayers to try something different. And I reached back into my old bag and contacted some prior contacts that I had with some travel doctor or locum tenant companies, which is what they’re also called, and basically just re updated, my profile. Updated my profile and said, let me just take a travel assignment to clear my head and kind of figure out what my next move is. And, I did that. And that’s what I’ve been doing since then.

Bryce Curry: That’s really amazing. So we talked about through your educational journey, trusting in yourself and using that as a compass to make some big decisions and deciding what to specialize in. And then it’s kind of a full circle moment, as you’re in your attending, to make a big decision like that. Right. To, say, I’m going to transition from a private practice and try something different.

Travel doctors fill in for temporary staffing until a facility finds a permanent physician

so just real quick, let’s establish, or kind of define, I think probably most of our audience has heard about traveling doctors to some extent, but let’s just take a moment, and if you would just kind of establish, what do we mean by, a traveling doctor and kind of unpack that a little bit for our audience, if you would consider that as, an option.

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Sure. I use the term travel doctor because a lot of young doctors are familiar with travel nurses. So it’s similar to that. But the technical term for travel doctors is locum tendons. And pretty much it’s a concept that’s been around for decades. and pretty much you are filling in as a physician in a company or a facility or a clinic for temporary staffing until that facility finds a permanent, physician that’s the premise of it. again, it’s been around for a long time. However, a lot of new, doctors, residents, interns, they’ve never heard of it. They didn’t even know it was an option.

Bryce Curry: So I come from the, world of business, and in business we have, terms like fractional CFO or fractional marketing vice president. Right. You know, is it similar to that or are you working on, do you work more on like, ah, I’ll be at this, this location for six months, a year until. Or, I mean, how do you kind of, what’s the structure like there, or is there none? And is that part of the excitement of it?

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Yeah, there’s a structure. There are several options. So, for instance, the way that it works is you would credential or contact a company that offers a service. Pretty much. There are companies that offer this service, and then you let them know what your, of course, your specialty is and what you’re looking for. So it depends on the doctor. Do you want to work in a hospital? Do you want to work in someone else’s private clinic? if you’re a surgeon, do you want to work in a surgery center or do you want to work in a nursing home or rehab center? So you just present yourself


Dr. Xunda Gibson: to the travel, doctor company and, to start the credentialing process, they will come back with a list of multiple options that are out there for you in multiple areas, multiple states, etcetera. And literally you choose. So one, say, clinic or facility may say, oh, we need a surgeon to cover er call for our facility for the next six months.

Bryce Curry: Okay.

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Or maybe a surgery center that says, okay, we need a general surgeon just for routine general surgeries in our outpatient facility for the next two weeks. So it can vary. However, most assignments, will usually last for at least three months. And I say that in that, it takes a lot of credentialing and fact checking to bring on a new doctor to a company. So they need that lead time to do all their due diligence. So typically, if you sign that contract and it’s for, say, to do your call at our hospital, most of the time, they will come back and say, okay, we need you for the following month, the following month, the following month. Or you can say, well, I don’t want to do it, and choose to move on to another assignment. So there’s lots of flexibility.

Bryce Curry: Yeah, there’s a lot of flexibility, it sounds like, and variety, which, you know, probably provides a bit of, for some, some people like that type of change and adventure. which it sounds like, fits well for you and how do you, so if I’m a resident right now and I’m thinking about what I should do, what should my next step be? should I go into private practice? Should I go into a group or an institution? I’m faced with all these decisions or continue my education into fellowship in a certain specialty.

Doctor Gibson talks about the broker option for finding new jobs

One of the things on this episode, and I’m so grateful that you’re joining us on, is to talk about this option. and so I want to talk a little bit more about that. So you’re working with a company that kind of serves, I’m going to use the term broker. Is that a fair term? They kind of work. They’re your middle person that says, hey, Doctor Gibson, we have this opportunity, this is the commitment, this is the structure. And then you can say yes or no. Is that kind of how that works?

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Correct. Correct. Yes.

Bryce Curry: So first step would be is if you’re interested in kind of, if your personality, you know, as such, where, you know, you like different kind of opportunities and are adaptable to change, you’d reach out to a company that would provide you these, these you know, these, these jobs.

You can choose to work locally in your area as a travel doctor

Right. Or these opportunities to now does, does that require a lot of travel? Let’s talk a little bit to like, what does that mean for you as an individual? Do you have to then plan to live in a different place for that six month period or whatever that commitment it might be, or how, does that work?

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Yeah. So the way that it works typically is the company, the broker company will cover your travel expenses. So they’re usually going to cover your airline, ticket, your hotel stay, your rental car. Typically they don’t include food, but those main items.

Dr. Xunda Gibson: In terms of the assignment, you can choose to work locally in your area as a travel doctor. So someone says, oh, well, how would that being a travel doctor? You’re just local and you can stay at your own home and they’ll usually cover your gas expenses if that’s the case. So if say I am in New York and I am an internist who just, I just finished my internal medicine residency, I perhaps don’t want to sign on to a long term contract. Right away I contact the company, this broker company or travel, doctor company, let them know what I’m looking for. I may choose to stay in New York in my community. If there’s an opportunity, if there’s a job there, you know, if there’s an opportunity there for that. You can, or you can choose to go to upstate New York. again, that would be, it would depend on what that particular facility was looking for in terms of travel. So they will usually tell you the job assignment will say, we need you for seven days out of the month, or we need you for seven days on, seven days off, or we need you for the entire month. So they need you for seven days out of the month. You travel to the, facility, you work your seven days, your hotel


Dr. Xunda Gibson: expenses are paid for your rental car. You travel back home, voila, you’re done. M until the next month or whatever schedule that you’ve arranged within. If it’s more like you’re, they need you for the entire month, then you’re probably going to be staying in that area for that time. And again, your expenses are covered, right. Your hotel, or if you choose that you don’t want to be in a hotel that long, you can, find an Airbnb or, you know, midterm rental, and there’ll be some comparable, reimbursement for that as well. So, yeah, you typically go back and forth, but the beauty of it is, is that when you go there and you work that time period, you’re working. When you’re done, you’re completely done, and you can come back home to your family and have all of your time to yourself.

Bryce Curry: So that’s a, that’s a great point. And kind of, it goes back to what we were talking about earlier around burnout and just different things. I mean, we all in our jobs have, times of burnout and, you know, maybe we’re doing the same thing and there’s a repetitiveness to it and we’re looking for, you know, a change. And one of the things that I find really interesting about this is that you kind of have the flexibility, it sounds like, to say no or try, you know, different types of, scheduling, different types, you know, geographic locations. But it’s interesting.

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Being a traveling doctor allows you to focus on patient care

Let’s, let’s talk just, if you would, a little bit more about that, because that is something that has come up. And when I’ve talked to different residents, at conferences and stuff is, as they’re considering what their next options are, is boundaries or time. Right. Time is one of our most precious resources. It’s definitely up there, when you start having family and loved ones and stuff like that, but even for yourself. And so do you view this option of becoming and pursuing it, traveling, like being a traveling doctor, as a way to does it create, have you found it to create boundaries? I mean from, for your schedule? Like you’re saying, where then the, the clinic is responsible for a lot of the overhead and everything and you just get to focus on patient care.

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Yes, that’s the beauty of it. And it’s not that you’re giving, actually, you’re giving better patient care. It frees you to focus strictly on that. So once you make it to your location, you’re strictly focusing on that. Here’s the other thing too. As a resident or fellow who’s finishing, sometimes you’re pressured into taking a job or signing a contract for a long term, job and you’re not even sure if you’re going to like it, right? Like a lot of you don’t, you don’t know. You’re just like, okay, well, I’m going to go to Colorado, I’m going to take this job. I don’t know if I’m even going to like it.

Dr. Xunda Gibson: What being a traveling doctor allows you to do is you can still be a fellow. Just say if you’re a nephrology fellow and you take an assignment in Colorado, it gives you an opportunity to get a feel for the area. So maybe you’ve never been there before. You get a feel for the area, you get a feel for the people. You also get to experience different see practice settings in terms of like if it’s a private, say, dialysis or private nephrology practice versus one of the more chain, nephrology practices. So you get a feel for what it’s like to be in different settings and ah, listening to your gut instinct or what feels right for you. Then you’ll know what aligns, with you and you can make better choices about your permanent employment or your permanent job if that’s what you so choose.

Bryce Curry: So a resident could look at this as an opportunity to, instead of just making a commitment and going all in, they could do a period of time of being a traveling doctor and experiencing a lot of what you’re talking about. Does it ever potentially, lead into the opportunity for a full time, like employment or a longer term engagement?

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Yes, oftentimes it does. And here’s the great thing about that is, you know, well, recently there’s an announcement made within the last week that these no compete or restrictive covenant clauses are going to be done away with. Right. But before this announcement, that’s a big thing in medicine where you take a job somewhere you decide you don’t like it. Sometimes you can be banned from that entire city. so you have to find a new city to go work. if you are resident and you’re trying things out, you go to the site, you like the travel assignment, you like the people.


Dr. Xunda Gibson: Sometimes they’ll actually go to the company, the broker company and just ask them hey, you know, we’re interested in bringing this person on permanently. The great thing is you don’t have to worry about a restricted covenant clause. All the broker company is going to say is well, and that’s usually in your signing contract. If they bring you on as a permanent physician with their company, then they’ll pay like a recruiter fee, recruitment fees, and then, and that’s it. So you don’t have to worry about oh, I really like this place, but I’m not going to be able to stay because of you know, a no compete clause right now. It happens a lot.

Bryce Curry: Yeah, I am talking with a lot of physicians. the non compete is a big deal, especially with contract negotiations and that’s so I would want our audience to really key in on what Doctor Gibson’s talking about and exploring this, for that reason, I think it’s a really interesting way to not only experience, variety and all the things that she’s talking about as far as geographic location, practice type management fit, not necessarily having to deal with all the overhead, that comes with some of the full time stuff, but also having kind of adventure of experiencing different clinics, different patients in different geo, areas.

There is an interstate medical licensure compact that allows for multipack licensing

one question I have, and this is definitely coming from someone that doesn’t know much ah, ah. About practicing from state to state. But I assume there’s different things with licensing. Could we talk a little bit about that? Is there, do you have to become licensed in if you’re in? I’ll just make up a scenario if I’m in Iowa and I have an opportunity in Texas and it’s for six weeks and I want to take that, do I, do I as the doctor have to go through anything? Does the broker company work or is there anything that kind of is like an interstate licensing kind of option?

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Yeah, yeah. So again, so if you are already what we call credential with one of these travel doctor companies, they will often, well they will apply for the state license for you, you know, of course you have to find the paperwork and et cetera, but they will apply for you. so that’s one advantage of it. Right. So you can gain a lot of state medical licenses, at no cost to you. At no cost to you. Second part of that question, in terms of like, a interstate or multipack type of licensing, there is an entity that exists, it’s called the IMLCC, with interstate medical licensure compact. And pretty much not every state participates. But I think I want to say it’s about 30 states and territories that participate right now. Could be a little bit more because more states are joining every, year. But what this allows is for you to license with this entity, and it streamlines your state licensing process for any of the other participating states. So, for instance, like, I know California is not a part of it at this time, Florida is not a part of it at this time. But just say Georgia and, the neighboring state, Alabama, they participate. So if you had a license in Georgia and you wanted to pursue an assignment in Alabama, but you didn’t have that state license for Alabama, having this interstate medical licensure compact license would allow you to get licensed in Alabama within a two week timeframe versus a three month timeframe. So it streamlines the process.

Bryce Curry: It’s really interesting.

Have you noticed an increase in demand for traveling doctors following COVID

have you noticed, you know, the need for traveling doctors? has that increased as a causal, ah. Like, is there a causal relationship with the COVID pandemic and the doctor shortages and different things like that? Have you seen demand, for this, you know, increase, meaning the opportunities of, you know, traveling to different places and practicing medicine, or is it absolutely okay?

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Absolutely. So there’s always been a demand. Again, just not a lot of the new doctors knew about it. So there’s always been a demand. So even when I dabbled in travel doctoring 20 years ago, there was a demand then. but at that time, I didn’t want to be all over the country.

Bryce Curry: Sure.

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Covid for sure changed that with the burnout, with a lot of doctors leaving the profession.


Dr. Xunda Gibson: facilities are definitely short staffed.

Dr. Xunda Gibson: So that’s a two pronged approach. Right. So there’s a demand, but sometimes when you get there, there’s, you know, two times the amount of, responsibility that you may have. Not all the time, but sometimes it can be. Just depends on where you, where you end up. But for sure, with burnout, with COVID the demand is huge. And let me segue into this, that I want to get out there is that before, you know, if you were a resident or fellow finishing up and you wanted to be a travel doctor, you know, most places would say or most companies would say, oh, well, you need to have two to three years of experience before any hospital or clinic will consider you. Covid changed that, changed it completely. So now hospitals, clinics, facilities are really, They’re re evaluating that. So you can be a.

Bryce Curry: Cardiology, ah.

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Fellow right out of fellowship and become a travel doctor. Yeah.

Bryce Curry: So, as we kind of close our time here, what I just have a couple more questions.

Um, what advice would you give to our audience that might be aware of some information

what advice would you give to our audience that might be aware of some of what we’ve talked about, but would like more information? what’s a good resource that they could, lean into to kind of find out more? Is there, a community that, is out there on any of the digital platforms? Or is there a known entity that they could go out to on their website and learn more about it? Or how would a resident find out more information, that they could consume on their own time?

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Yeah, so there, there are different travel doctor companies or locomotives companies that are out there. there are lots of podcasts, there are YouTube channels, etcetera. But, what I find is there’s a little bit of something everywhere. So because of that, I created a kind of one stop source where a new fellow, a new resident or new attending, etc. That was considering this, that guides you through the process and gives you more information. So, number one, I created a free, ah, PDF download that lists the major travel doctor companies and links to their website. So you can just go download that. And on each of those websites, it will give you a little bit more information about the whole process in and of itself. But it’s from each company, of course. And then, I created an online course as well, to guide any, potential doctors, whatever stage in their career that they’re at, to guide them through the process as well. Because again, there’s nothing one place, so to speak, where you can get everything. So you’re kind of like out there. And I’m sure there may be some Facebook communities on, as well. I think I heard of some Facebook communities. I’m not on Facebook, but, But in terms of like an organization that’s strictly devoted to being a travel doctor?

Bryce Curry: No. Okay.

Dr. Xunda Gibson: But there again, there are podcasts out there, though.

Bryce Curry: Yeah, but it sounds like you’re, consolidating some of that information. And is that a website? Feel free to share. that website or that? Yeah. And then.

Dr. Xunda Gibson: So the website. So on the website, it’s, it’s www.solmdtravel.com. and so once you get to the website, you’ll see the option for the free download. There’s also another comprehensive guide that’s there, and then there’s information about that. And there’s also, instructions on how you can join the course. And it’s pretty concise, but it’s just everything that you need to know. We don’t learn anything about financing in medical school. so I dev into that as well. You know, we don’t learn anything about setting up our own practices. We have to figure that out on our own when we’re done. But, I don’t talk about that. But I do talk about how establishing yourself as a financial entity.

Bryce Curry: Yeah, very good. And we’ll, link that in the show description as well.

Doctor Gibson shares her experiences on becoming a travel doctor

your website, because this is a message we want to get out, to our audience across our network, because of some of the main points that we’ve talked about here today, when you might be trying to decide what’s your next step. also you might be in a position right now where you’re faced with some burnout and change. Might be a possible, solution for that, or at least, potential way of,


trying something different. we also talked about there’s a bit of freedom that comes with the ability to use a brokerage company to do a lot of the work for you. and from a licensing standpoint. Right. And also placement and working on your behalf. have you found being a travel doctor that you have, I’m gonna say the free time, I don’t know. Doctors often don’t have a ton of time outside of patient care. But have you found your. You can have more, freedom of your schedule to develop some, what I’ll call boundaries to do some other things outside of medicine?

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Absolutely. That is the attraction for me at this stage of my career. You can work as much as you want to work or not. there may be times in your year that you perhaps want to work a little bit more in other times of the year that you want to back off a little bit. You have that freedom. You have the freedom to block your work time. So just say you want to work. Just, I want to work two weeks out of the month and I’m going to work two weeks in a row, and then I want to have the other half of the month to just focus on whatever my side business, etcetera. But you want to be able to focus on it, solely, you know, it gives you that option because, again, you’re not on call when you’re, when you’re not working, when you’re not on that assignment, you don’t have to worry about, okay, this is my weekend of call. this is my night of call, which interferes, with a lot. So it is freedom, it’s autonomy, it’s working smarter, it brings balance back.

Bryce Curry: That’s powerful, because, you know, one of the things that, as we’ve been talking with physicians, that are, you know, attending and maybe 1520 years in their career, as they reflect, and we’ve had them on unscripted or on other, podcasts, they talk about, you know, they might not necessarily always use the word well being, but this balance. And, I’ve talked to surgeons that have, when they self reflect, they look back and they wish they maybe would have balanced their time or figured out a way to create margins. Or like I said earlier, some of them have used the word boundaries to have some time, that maybe they felt like they’ve lost a little bit, whether it’s with kids or loved ones or just even hobbies or something that they wanted to do. And so one of the great things about what we’re talking about today is that this is an option. And that’s why we wanted to have Doctor Gibson on, is to share her experiences and what she’s doing right now, and some of the benefits of considering being a travel doctor and the opportunities that offers from, a professional standpoint, like we’ve talked about, but also a personal, overall well being and balance and just how important that is for you as an individual, but also for the quality of patient care.

Dr. Xunda Gibson: What one thing would you do differently on your medical journey

Yes. As we close out, I always like when I get a chance to talk to, individuals like yourself that, have. Have so much experience and are putting themselves out there and saying, hey, this is an alternative. Check it out. I’ve created a resource for you to consume some information. This is what I’ve learned. So I always like to ask this question. What one thing, if you look back on your educational journey, would you do differently?

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Maybe in my more formative years, in high school, I probably would have pursued more summer programs that, were more focused on science, extend. You know, I didn’t do that when I was in high school, but throughout my career, you know, as I meet other colleagues, they had exposure to that. And so once you’re exposed to that, that it kind of gives you a bright, a broader spectrum of lenses to view through and exposes you to more. So I would say for me, that’s the one thing that I would change. However, again, intuitively, that’s what I kind of was, drawn to. So, I made that happen, later in my career, but I would have done that earlier. So that’s more pre, so that’s pre, college, pre medical school, etcetera. if I’m a medical student, I would definitely do, rotations.


Dr. Xunda Gibson: If you have an option to do rotations at other facilities or out of state, or even if you have an opportunity to go, abroad, which I was able to do as well in my medical school, I would definitely say do that for sure.

Bryce Curry: Very good. Very good. Well, it’s been a pleasure to have you on. thank you so much. And what is the website one more time?

Dr. Xunda Gibson: It’s www. Dot solmd. Solmd travel.com.

Bryce Curry: Very good. And again, we’ll link, all this information in our, show description. Doctor Gibson, it’s been a pleasure. thank you for your time. And, thank you for, sharing your experience, your insights and your wisdom with, our audience as they’re working through their medical journey. And, it’s been a pleasure and thank you so much.

Bryce Curry thanks doctor Gibson for joining us today on Unscripted

Dr. Xunda Gibson: Thank you.

Bryce Curry: I’d like to thank doctor Gibson for joining us today on Unscripted. We took a deeper look into her career as a traveling doctor. I hope our conversation today has shed some light on another option for medical careers that are different from a traditional path. Stay tuned for more discussions on important topics in the medical field. And one way to do that is to like and subscribe so you never miss an episode of unscripted. I’ve been your host today, Bryce Curry, and we’ll see you next time on unscripted.