Archive for Thursday, August 16, 2001

Local doctor finishing rounds in Eudora, heading to Kansas City

August 16, 2001

After four years of caring for Eudorans, from babies to people their great-grandparent's age, physician Stephen Nolker is checking himself out of Eudora Medical Clinic and in to St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.

Although his contract ends in September, Nolker will quit seeing patients mid-August. While Nolker finishes up his practice in Eudora, Lawrence Memorial Hospital (LMH) is busy recruiting a physician to fill the vacancy. Kenneth Holladay, Nolker's fellow physician at the clinic, said LMH might have a prospect, and he said he hoped the vacancy could be filled as soon as possible.

"I want someone who moves here and wants to become a part of our community," Holladay said.

Nolker will continue to practice family medicine at the hospital and will have more opportunities to work in obstetrics as well as with resident physicians.

"I'll have a younger clientele there; a lot of new mothers and babies," he said.

He also looks forward to being closer to family and friends as well as working on an older home he's in the process of refurbishing.

"I'm finally learning how to use an electric saw," he said. "I have all of my fingers, to date."

Before becoming a physician, Nolker worked in his father's bank.

"I wanted to do something in the sciences," he said of going back to school, earning a medical degree from Kansas University's School of Medicine in Kansas City, Kan.

Working in Eudora was Nolker's first full-time job as a physician.

"I don't think that I had any big surprises," he said. "I think it was a good place to have a first job. There's a lot of variety here."

Nolker said he didn't see as many emergencies as he expected coming to work in a small town.

Nolker's experiences in small town medicine extended to Oskaloosa, McLouth and Perry. As part of a scholarship payback where Nolker served rural communities' medical needs, he worked with physician assistants in those areas as well as with area nursing homes, including Eudora Nursing Center. St. Luke's wants him to capitalize on that experience.

"One of the things they want me to do is get into more of the geriatric needs in their area," Nolker said.

Moving away from his practice will leave Nolker missing some aspects of working with patients in Eudora, mostly the "little things."

"They tend to work with their doctors really well," he said. "The people you see, you feel like you've been able to make a difference. A lot of times you bang your head against the wall."

Leaving what's more than just a job, Nolker said he'll also miss friendships he's formed with patients. But he'll also take away with him what he considers one of the most rewarding parts of the job.

"Doing deliveries has been one of the most fulfilling things, and seeing the kids grow," Nolker said. "I have some that are now 4 years old."

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