Thursday June 25th I had the opportunity to meet up with one of my favorite surgeons, Dr. Joseph Kunzleman, who joined us for our ‘Making a Difference’ meeting that we hold every Thursday her in our Salt Lake Office. Our MAD meeting is the one meeting we have every week where we are able to share with each other stories of how we are able to make a difference in the communities we serve, with the surgeons or clients we work with and with each other, and not talk about business or financial numbers.
I have worked with Dr. Kunzelman for about a year now and we both share an interest in physical fitness and nutrition. Often times we share our workout regiments or endurance adventures with each other, and we both have a passion for fatherhood, family life and work/life balance. Dr. Kunzelman shared with us that he used to work an exhaustive schedule that left one of his partners burnt out and with a nervous breakdown. It was at that point that Dr. Kunzelman decided he needed a change for his family and personal well-being and decided to move to Phoenix, AZ and work part of the month in Illinois. Dr. Kunzelman spends part of the summer in Park City, UT with his wife. On his way to a ski getaway at Mt. Hood, Dr. Kunzelman and his wife stopped by the CHG corporate office on the way to the airport and spoke to some of our teams about what it is like to do locum tenens and how that impacts the communities that our surgeons work in.
Although Dr. Kunzelman has only worked 6 locum tenens assignments, he is able to recognize the importance of this role with the facilities that we partner with. After sharing his story about his partner who had suffered from burnout, he was able to shed some light on the importance of giving a break to staff surgeons who really need it. General Surgery is mandatory at most hospitals and these facilities must rely on locum tenens to both provide coverage and give much needed relief to those that are permanently on staff.
Dr. Kunzelman says that doing locums is a gratifying and confidence building experience, but always a challenge. Sometimes you have to get up do speed on a new computer system immediately and get up to speed in just a few hours. You don’t know anyone going in but after a couple of days you’ll walk out with new friends and new experiences. The least pleasant part of the locum’s process for Dr. Kunzelman is the paperwork, followed by learning a new computer system, and third is showing up to a new assignment without having the credibility of a staff surgeon.
Dr. Kunzelman has always had great feedback from our clients and they would love to have him back. One client mentioned that they teach classes based on Steven Covey’s ‘7 Habits of Highly Successful People’ and that Dr. Kunzelman was the perfect example of these fine habits. We asked Dr. Kunzelman to tell us one thing that he does to set himself apart on locums assignments: “I take out a pen and paper and write down the names of people as I meet them, I write down what they look like and their position. I can tell that when I remember the names of other employees it makes a difference in their da and helps to immediately build trust”.
Lastly, Dr. Kunzelman shared a story of saving a life at the last place that we staffed him at, it seemed so casual for him but to the rest of us he is nothing short of a hero.
Looking forward to the next time Dr. K!