Jackson + Coker helps doctor find joy in locums.
Physicians and advanced practitioners are accustomed to navigating the unexpected and finding solutions while caring for others. But what happens when their life takes a sharp, unexpected turn? Something Dr. Barbara Rumberger didn’t anticipate when her husband was diagnosed with cancer and later passed.
“We were married for 47 years and were true soulmates. We shared absolutely everything – rearing children, our love of travel, service, and the practice of medicine. He was fine and healthy until he wasn’t,” she reflects.
“Christmas was always special family time for my husband and me. As I approached the holidays, I thought, ‘You know, this is going to be a very hard first,’” Dr. Rumberger said. As she began reimagining her life, an email from Jackson + Coker about holiday locum tenens opportunities caught her attention. “When you lose your life as you knew it and everything is different, having something that is as familiar and comforting as going to work and feeling good about it is worth a lot. I felt that being in a new place and doing something for others would be a healing experience,” she expressed.
Familiar work + full support.
Serving a community over the holidays felt like a great way to honor her husband on that first Christmas without him. Caroline Cookston, J+C senior recruiter, worked with Dr. Rumberger to find the best holiday locums placement for her. “Caroline was so caring and listened to what I wanted. She said I sounded like the right person for an opportunity in Kentucky and presented me. I was going through a big transition and being able to do locums is affirming.”
The healthcare facility accepted Dr. Rumberger and was excited to have pediatric holiday coverage available for their community. Everyone was hopeful as they focused on getting her to Kentucky, however, three challenges stood in the way: credentialing, licensing, and a quick timeline.
“It became a collaborative effort that brought many people together at Jackson + Coker and the Kentucky Medical Board,” said Natasha C. Inman, J+C director of accounts and licensing. She was inspired by the doctor’s passion for serving others while grieving. “This situation was slightly different because it was holiday coverage and knowing why Dr. Rumberger wanted the assignment added extra urgency.” At the last moment, a wish was granted when the Kentucky license was approved.
J+C made sure Dr. Rumberger was supported every step of the way. “Somebody was always there to answer my call or refer me to someone who could,” she said. “I was personally represented and taken care of.”
A different Christmas.
Upon successfully arriving in a small Kentucky town with the ability to focus on patients, Dr. Rumberger got to work. “Through locums, all you’re doing is a really good job of serving patients without all the other peripheral things that would distract you at home. You just have to enjoy being where you are and focus on giving the best patient care,” she said.
The change of scenery and ability to help others was healing for Dr. Rumberger. She embraced being able to connect with patients, found compassion for herself, and a connection with the community, which came with an unexpected gift. “Christmas Day was on a Sunday, and one of the hospital obstetricians invited me to join her at church,” Dr. Rumberger said. “I was personally and warmly welcomed. It wasn’t about gifts or things, but the meaning of the day. It was the best possible way I could have celebrated that first Christmas.”
The locums life.
Intentionally serving others and finding her own joy is at the center of Dr. Rumberger’s locums journey. “The best way just to lose yourself is in service to others, I believe it gives you the most amount of comfort,” she says. “I take my husband with me wherever I go in my heart. Because I know that he would say, ‘Yes, this is what you love. You should be doing this and not sitting home going on about me.’ He was that way when he was alive, and I’m sure he’s doing it now.”
Her love for her husband and life is expressed through the time spent with her grandkids, traveling, and practicing medicine. Working with J+C, she can continue meeting new people and serving rural towns in need of pediatric care.
Dr. Rumberger found her experience to be personally healing. “If another holiday locums opportunity were to come along, I would do it because it was such a rich and helpful experience.”