Dr. Gonzalo Rodriguez, obstetrician and gynecologist, has experienced many aspects of the medical field in his time as a physician. He has been board-certified since 1990 and is proud of a career where he helped babies to be born, provided excellent women’s health, supervised midwives, and helped to create a new curriculum for medical school students. Added to this impressive body of work was his role in working to develop a new residency program. After retirement, Dr. Rodriguez turned to locum tenens work because of the flexibility it provided for him to create a better work/life balance and have time to take care of the needs of his family.
Developing an OB/GYN residency program
When Dr. Rodriguez completed residency training, his energy was boundless.
“Through the years, I thought I could do absolutely everything and had part in a lot of different projects,” he says. “I am most proud to have helped create a new curriculum for a new medical school in Kalamazoo, Michigan.”
His involvements didn’t stop there. “The school did not have a Women’s Health department, so we had to develop a residency program so that they could fulfill their accreditation requirements. Prior to that work, I was part of an in-house midwifery program where I was member of a physician team which supervised 15 midwives. This practice executed approximately 1,500 deliveries each year.”
Being ever committed, Dr. Rodriguez readily became involved in every aspect of the program.
Making the switch to locum tenens work
Working for 21 years in a large hospital-based practice, then approximately two years in another smaller hospital-based practice, eventually led to a need to do something different. The responsibilities of being a practicing physician while also caring for his ailing mother became difficult to balance, and Dr. Rodriguez decided he had to redirect and find a way to make family a priority.
It was while working at a second hospital that he started considering locum tenens as an alternative to continuing as a hospital-employed physician.
“I had exposure to traveling nurses while working in the operating rooms. I had opportunities to speak with them, ask their opinions of what to look for in a management company, how I should present myself, etc. They shared their experiences,” he says. “I then reached out to a few colleagues who worked locums and by word of mouth connected with Weatherby Healthcare. It has been a wonderful experience working as a locum tenens provider with this company. I was really unsure about what the experience would be; however, each step along the way has been nice.”
The flexibility and time to attend to family matters
Stepping away from a hospital-based practice to try locum tenens work proved to be a gift as it gave Dr. Rodriguez more time with his mother before her passing. It also allowed him the flexibility that he needed in order to take care of responsibilities relating to his mother’s estate, while also providing a stream of income. Working locum tenens gave Dr. Rodriguez the time needed to focus on these important priorities, and the flexibility that his prior jobs would not have been able to provide.
“When I began to look for work away from home, I was really focused on finding an opportunity that was close to where my mother lived” he says. “I live in Michigan and I grew up outside of Dayton, Ohio, which is approximately five hours away. Along that travel corridor, I was able to find consistent locums opportunities.”
These work assignments also afforded Dr. Rodriguez the opportunity to reconnect with his childhood. “My locums work was near my childhood home, where my sister now lives. I could visit her more frequently and spend time with my nephews who live nearby, too. It was so very, very nice. Since I had not lived near home since my medical school days, I became reconnected. It’s interesting how time flies in medicine; you miss out on a lot.”
Catching up on missed life experiences
Dr. Rodriguez also explains how his views about medical careers have changed since working as a locums provider. He has been able to catch up on life experiences that he feels he missed out on before retiring.
“There is a higher incidence of depression that results from medical training and clinical practice. Physicians usually sacrifice life experiences and such” he says. “If you’re delaying family, marriage, or other societal milestones, you will be able to catch up with locums work. Locums is the perfect opportunity to step back, let other physicians fill in, and give you a chance to breathe.”
Through it all, locum tenens work helped Dr. Rodriguez find the flexibility he needed to be able to spend more time with his family and have a better work/life balance. Though initially skeptical, he finally found what he had been looking for. “Locums opportunities provide a fresh outlook on life,” he says. “I feel as if I could write a book.”