Physician Feature: David Villarreal, MD

Adventure with a Purpose

Beginning with Biology

At first glance, everyone looked the same. Most students were slumped in the hard, plastic chairs doodling on the side of their notes and yawning as the teacher discussed mitochondria and microorganisms. However, one boy sat slightly straighter than all the others; his pencil was hard at work, not scrawling designs like his peers, but recording copious notes. David Villarreal was not your average student. This class sparked an early interest that continued to influence and shape his life; biology became the foundation of his passion for medicine.

Lifelong Learner

Dr. Villarreal head shotToday, Dr. Villarreal is a surgeon in Waco, Texas, and he is also certified in critical care. Before attending medical school, he worked as an EMT and eventually gravitated toward the field of surgery. Now, Dr. Villarreal works in a variety of different practice environments, preserving his love of learning. He says, “even though I have a permanent job, I spoke with one of my peers a few years ago. They mentioned locum tenens. I began exploring that idea, eventually taking assignments of my own. I don’t ever see myself fully retiring while I’m still healthy and skilled, so locum work allows me to practice at my pace and focus on my family and external passions.”

Although he is no longer in the classroom, working locum tenens provides plenty of additional ways to grow as both an individual and a professional. Dr. Villarreal compares the benefits of locum work and permanent placement. “Locum tenens is unique because it offers the opportunity to explore different types of assignments and see firsthand what other practitioners are doing,” he says. “With these experiences, you can see delivery of care in various communities and meet with peers and hospital staff in diverse settings with different needs.”

Outside of the operating room, Dr. Villarreal still enjoys exploration and discovery. Education has always been one of the most integral pieces of Dr. Villarreal’s life; he is a book collector and loves traveling to learn about new cultures around the world. He spends much of his free time hiking, camping, kayaking, and scuba diving.

A Stellar Experience

Dr. Villarreal Diving MolokaiSince locum work is flexible, he can choose assignments that fit around his external passions. Thankfully, each opportunity feeds a unique sense of purpose for many surgeons, and Dr. Villarreal is no different. The variety helps him continue to strive to push himself in the medical field. As a lifelong learner, his experience has been very fulfilling. “The best part of locum tenens is the freedom to practice the fields that I enjoy most: surgery, trauma, and surgical critical care,” he says, smiling, “It’s challenging and rewarding to adapt to different practices without losing the quality of healthcare delivery and the same standards and discipline that I’m used to in my permanent placement.”

Dr. Villarreal accepts a variety of his locum tenens opportunities with the help of Medicus Healthcare Solutions. He reflects on his time with the company, saying, “Medicus has always created a personal experience with very realistic expectations about each opportunity. They are accommodating toward my professional needs, solve problems quickly and efficiently, and create a streamlined process from assignment to assignment. I have recommended Medicus to several of my peers who also expressed interest in locum tenens.”

In addition to a positive experience with Medicus, Dr. Villarreal attributes his excellent placements to his recruiter, Olivia Pizzano. When he describes their relationship, he says, “I’m glad Olivia takes care of my cases; she is outstanding! She always has quick responses to every situation. Communication is an important quality to me, and she always manages to be available (even on weekends when she is not supposed to be working). Thanks to her careful intervention, my assignments have consistently gone smoothly!”

To providers considering locum tenens, remember the defining moment you discovered your passion for medicine. Practicing locum tenens can help preserve that sense of purpose. For Dr. Villarreal, it all started in a biology class. Now, the opportunities are endless.

Call Medicus Healthcare Solutions at 855.301.0563 to explore locum tenens opportunities with an experienced recruiter, and check out our blog for tips, the latest news and trends, and other helpful information.

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