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Locuming Lets Me… Run My Own Surf & Yoga Business: Elaine Breen

From riding the waves and volunteering at animal shelters, to opening her own surf and yoga business; locuming has allowed Elaine Breen to pursue many of her passions, while working as a pharmacist on the side!

Elaine Breen's journey into the world of locuming began about six years ago, and since then, she hasn't looked back. Initially, she found herself in a demanding, full-time pharmacy position, burning the candle at both ends as she tried to balance her work responsibilities with her hobbies and personal interests. Trying to fit long hours into three or four-day workweeks, she juggled her time between the pharmacy and her passions, which included art and surfing. However, this unsustainable routine is why Elaine decided it was time to make a change to her lifestyle and looked to locuming!

“I made the choice to exclusively locum almost six years ago, so quite a bit before it became such a generally popular option. I started surfing competitively and found myself caught in a lifestyle that prefers a lot of flexibility with regard to work.”

Art & Painting

Studying pharmacy had led Elaine to put her artistic pursuits on hold. The demanding nature of her coursework left little room for her to express her creativity through painting. However, with the flexibility of locuming, Elaine was able to rekindle her love for art. She returned to painting and even held her own art exhibition, showcasing her amazing work over in Portugal!

“Locuming also gave me time to resurrect my artistic skills and I finally got the chance to launch my own exhibitions.”

Elaine Breen at her Art Exhibition

Elaine at her art exhibition in Portugal

Find more of Elaine's artwork over on her Instagram @elaine_breen_art


One of Elaine's passions, surfing, became an integral part of her life during a gap year she took to teach literature in a school in India. Travelling to Sri Lanka to renew her visa, she stumbled upon the sport and fell in love with it. As a highly physical sport, surfing demands dedication, time, and flexibility – something that traditional full-time work doesn't always allow. From Lahinch to Portugal, locuming provided Elaine with the freedom to chase the waves, practice her surfing skills, and even participate in amateur competitions!

Action shot of Elaine surfing the Portugal waves

An action shot of Elaine showing off her talent for surfing

Setting Up a Surf & Yoga Business

As a woman of many interests, Elaine uses her time to create a fulfilling lifestyle of different pursuits. A few years back, the flexibility of locuming, paired with the long-houred days of COVID, allowed her to complete a course in yoga training. This ultimately led her to setting up her own surf and yoga business in Portugal; something she could never even have dreamed of when working as a full-time pharmacist.

Despite her thriving business, Elaine continues to locum in Ireland. "There's two of us in it, which is important as I still need to come to Ireland for a good part of the year to do my locuming," she notes.

Visit SecretSurfHouse Here

Dog Shelter & Volunteering

Elaine's compassionate nature goes beyond her pharmacy career and extends to her involvement with animal shelters and volunteering. Adopting a dog in Portugal led her to engage with a local shelter, where she now occasionally fosters dogs. Her own dog's easy-going nature allows her to socialise and care for the shelter dogs more effectively. It's a cause that's close to her heart, and Elaine has made it an integral part of her life alongside her other pursuits.

Elaine with her dog

Elaine volunteering at the dog shelter

Advice for Those Thinking About Locuming

Elaine's journey from a full-time pharmacy career to a fulfilling life of flexibility and passions holds valuable lessons for those considering locuming. While some may be nervous to step away from the comfort and stability of a contract role, Elaine encourages others not to be held back by fear of the unknown.

"I know some people that have spent all of their professional lives in full-time jobs. I know a lot of them are actually afraid to locum because they've always worked with the same system. That doesn't need to be an obstacle because systems now are user-friendly and adaptable." 

Here at Clarity, we even provide training on some systems such as TouchStore, to ensure pharmacists feel confident going into their shifts.

As for aspiring pharmacists, Elaine recommends gaining experience in community pharmacies before embarking on a locum career.

"If you can have that under your belt, then afterwards, you can be a better locum and just be more relaxed on the job as well." 

Newly qualified pharmacists can find full-time positions over on our permanent recruitment site.

Once a Pharmacist, Always a Pharmacist

Through her journey, Elaine's identity as a pharmacist hasn't changed, and she expresses a lot of gratitude for the fulfilling lifestyle her career has enabled her to lead. Locuming has not only allowed Elaine to follow her passions but has also empowered her to create a life that reflects her unique blend of interests, creativity, and compassion.

“All the while, I identify primarily as a pharmacist and have never doubted pharmacy as my vocation in life. I am so grateful to my career which has allowed me such a thoroughly fulfilling lifestyle.”

Elaine Breen, carrying her surfboard at sunset

Elaine getting ready to surf at sunset

With her surf and yoga studio thriving in Portugal and her love for pharmacy intact, Elaine Breen stands as a shining example of how locuming can create the perfect work-life balance.

Locuming Lets Me... Live

Check out our previous Locuming Lets Me... Live articles below.

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Posted on 18 August 2023
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