Do you enjoy traveling? Are you longing to set your own schedule?
US Acute Care Solutions serves more than 220 hospitals in 20 states, and we want to help you learn about all of our locations on our blog. However, we also have traveling clinicians through our Firefighter Program who provide emergency physicians a unique opportunity to live exactly where they want, and travel to work for periods of time. Learn more here.
Here’s a Q&A with Firefighter Tanner Gronowski, DO, who has served as a USACS firefighter his entire career. Tanner earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Martin’s University, his medical degree from Pacific Northwest University and completed his emergency medicine residency at Doctors Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, where he was chief resident.
Q. What drew you to becoming a firefighter physician?
A. I had always been drawn to the travel lifestyle, growing up in a family where my mom worked for an airline and we flew frequently. When it came down to making the decision my last year of residency, my wife and I looked at all of the potential places we could land. We felt that the way the system was set up for firefighting really catered to our needs as a small but growing family, and gave us the flexibility we wanted in a job. After a lot of deliberation between the other positions I could choose from, we ultimately decided firefighting was the best fit for us right now.
Q. Which locations have you enjoyed the most and why?
A. This is pretty tough to answer, because each site I have been to has been so unique and fun in their own right. Cincinnati was a blast because of the people, being able to go to a Reds game between shifts occasionally, and it will always have a soft spot in my heart as my first place to ever work as an attending. Colorado was incredible because it’s Colorado! Mountain life is pretty tough to beat in my opinion. And Columbus has been a blast to get back to the area we lived for five years, see some old faces and meet some new ones. Really every place I have gone has been a fantastic experience.
Q. What is unique about your experience & opportunities that you don’t think you could find anywhere else?
A. It’s pretty tough to compete with the variety and situations I have had to learn since becoming a firefighter physician. Within my first two years I have worked at 10 or so different EDs, all with their unique benefits and challenges. This alone, I think, has given me a huge leap on my career in terms of exposure and comfort with handling literally anything that can be thrown at me.
Q. What are some major health concerns/unique challenges for your specific role?
A. About personal health, I could go on for days about those challenges. The travel lifestyle is vastly different than always having the comforts of home. I have had to learn how to find ways to cook healthy on the road, sleep during the day better than I ever did during residency, and put up with travel scheduling issues that are out of my control. Also, working on ways to not lose days at home due to travel and shift schedules can be difficult at times and put stress on the home life if you aren’t careful.
Q. What’s the best advice you ever received as a physician?
A. My grandfather told me to treat every patient as good and kindly as I can. It was simple advice, but when it comes down to it, it’s exactly what we should be doing. I often tell patients that I treat them as best as I can because otherwise my grandfather will get mad at me, haha.
Q. What’s the most important advice you give to new physicians?
A. You will feel like you don’t belong. You will feel like an imposter. But that’s okay. Just work every day to get more confidence and a little bit better, and never be afraid to ask for help.
Q. What would you say to someone considering a position as a firefighter?
A. You have to love the travel aspects of things, but the benefits that come with this job are fantastic. It will push you in ways you didn’t know you could be pushed, but with the support we have around us you will come out the other side of firefighting much stronger than when you came in.
Q. What do you do to encourage a quality work environment wherever you are?
A. Be nice to the people and staff at each site, and get to know them. Remember that it’s like you are coming into someone else’s home, so treat it with respect. Make friends and don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and the local area around you between shifts.