VISTA recently sat down to talk with Dr. Mark Rholl, a recent retiree who worked locum tenens on assignments in various locations including Chinle, AZ , with the Northern Navajo, Ignacio, CO, and a rural site in Hana, HI.
Below, Dr. Rholl and his wife, Carol, share in their own words how their experiences working locum tenens through VISTA from 2012 to 2018 gave them the opportunity to travel and interact with the communities they lived in.
When did you first consider locum tenens, and why?
[Dr. Rholl] I was at a meeting sitting next to someone a little younger who mentioned what a great experience he had working locum tenens. That piqued our interest, along with the fact that it could be part-time, that we could work for 2-6 months then have some time off to be with family or do some traveling on our own.
How did you choose VISTA over other locum tenens staffing firms?
[Dr. Rholl] We looked at several options but ultimately chose VISTA because we believed it would be a more personal experience and that seemed to be the case. It also offered enough wide range experiences and different types of work.
[Carol] The people we talked to were so nice! We just felt very comfortable.
What advice would you give a doctor who is considering locum tenens or just starting out?
[Dr. Rholl] If you’re looking for interesting experiences, we highly recommend locum tenens for physicians just starting out who want to do some exciting things before settling down to a regular job. It’s also a great option for physicians like me who are nearing retirement and just want some extra time to explore and take breaks in between assignments. But, if a physician is married, they should make sure their spouse feels comfortable in new situations. You have to be ready to enjoy these new experiences together.
When you go to a new area, try to understand what’s going on, then jump in and get involved in the community. Try to learn from them and let them know you're interested in learning from them.
[Carol] My advice is to step out of your comfort zone. Whenever we went places, churches were a fabulous place to get to know people. People were so welcoming! We heard amazing stories and met new friends just by stepping out a little bit and getting involved. Go in with an open spirit. We just loved it!
What is your favorite part about locum tenens?
[Dr. Rholl] Having a chance to learn about other people’s situations. We’ve done a little bit of traveling on our own, and we enjoy going to a place for two weeks, but we’ve found that we don’t really understand the communities that way. A locum tenens job allows you to stay for two months and really immerse yourself in the culture.
What is your favorite part about working with VISTA?
[Carol] Mark really hates paperwork, and VISTA was great about helping. Also, we knew that if any issues arose in the clinical setting, VISTA would be there for us. They were so responsive! They always made me feel like they had all the time in the world for us.
Did any of your locum tenens assignments give you insight into where you want to permanently live?
[Carol] I wish we had done locum tenens when Mark first graduated from his residency. I think it would have helped us decide where to live. I keep trying to talk people into it after their residency. I think it would be incredibly wonderful, and what a great experience for kids! We ended up living and buying a home where we began, after being there for some time during Mark’s first locum tenens assignment. We decided it was worth giving up our wonderful home on the coast of Maine to be close to our family.
If you could do it all over again, would you?
[Dr. Rholl] Definitely! We had incredible experiences, varied experiences, each with its own interests. We loved the personal touches that VISTA gave us.
[Carol] We just loved it!
To learn more about locum tenens opportunities and about working with VISTA, fill out an online form or call us today at 800-366-1884.