Dr. Shauna Kern planned to work in the Via Christi system after finishing her medical school residency in Wichita, until she spent weekends filling in at Hillsboro Community Hospital. She saw the setting as a chance for a more fulfilling career.
“I like the relationships in a small-town setting,” she said Monday, her first day seeing patients at Hillsboro Clinic. “You really get to know them (patients) as a whole person, more than in a big and busy place.
“I love that the people wave when you’re driving by,” she added.
Kern grew up in Valley Center, which she said had a small-town atmosphere despite its proximity to Wichita. Becoming a doctor wasn’t a long-held dream for her, but she like biology and chemistry in high school, which eventually led her to pre-medical studies in college.
Working as an emergency medical technician in a Wichita emergency room solidified her decision. She said helping people in their worst moments was rewarding for her.
She attended medical school at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, and completed her residency in December at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Wichita.
Kern will split her time between Hillsboro Clinic and Hillsboro Community Hospital.
As a freshly minted doctor, Kern likes the freedom provided by practicing medicine in Hillsboro. If she worked in a city environment, especially in a big hospital, she would have a very narrow scope of work dictated by protocols. But in a smaller setting, she will be able to provide a wider variety of care for patients.
The demographic differences also lead to different kinds of cases. Kern said that while filling in at the ER in Hillsboro, she saw more patients who had been in tractor accidents than in Wichita. It was too early to tell what kind of differences might appear at the clinic, though.
“As far as the clinic, this morning I haven’t seen a pattern,” Kern said.