“I started working at the local hospital when I was fourteen or fifteen and, at sixteen, I decided I wanted to be a doctor — I wanted that relationship with patients.”
“I GUESS I AM WHAT THEY CALL A 'COUNTRY DOC'…”
Listening to Linda Warren's story, it is no wonder why Congressman Jerry Moran [R–KS–1] took “great pleasure” in nominating her as a Local Legend.
Acknowledging the recognition, Warren recounted, “I have to say I want to accept this award not just for Linda Warren, but on behalf of all rural physicians, men and women who have chosen to place themselves in the complex situation of unique relationships with patients that can only be arrived at by daily exposure to each other, in multiple situations, not all of them medical—in small, rural communities.
“I was asked why I choose to practice where I do, and let you know what I'm about. It's not really about why I chose to stay where I am—have been for thirty years and hope to be for the rest of my life. Why I so believe in the rural life that I hope to find someone to continue to serve my population when I retire.
“I guess I am really what they call a 'country doc.' Hanover, Kansas, has a population of 654. Yes, 654!— It is the site of the only remaining Pony Express Station in the United States, one grocery store, one bank, one filling station, one pharmacy, two plumbing and electrical shops, a few various other businesses, and our 50–bed hospital, which employs 75 people.”
“Some of them drive in from other communities, so on those days the population maybe even hits 700. Folk here are farmers, and so are my husband and myself. The local high school class usually graduates about 25 students a year. The really big event of the year is the summer celebration with its parades, bands, floats, dances, horse shows, home–made pies and burgers at the church stands. Then the population probably hits 2000, or even 2500.”
“The reason I chose to stay here is because this site and this practice style have allowed me to participate in caring for people in a way that is very satisfying. The openness and intimacy that comes with the knowledge of so much of each others' lives gives a depth to the relationships which aids in dealing with their problems.
“Their knowledge of me, a true fishbowl phenomenon, though sometimes on a daily basis may seem undesirable, in the overall picture, promotes trust and understanding of not just a physician and patient, but two human beings with feelings, loves, successes, failures, laughter and tears. All visible through the course of years to each other.”
In addition to being "just a country doc," Warren has made significant contributions to educating medical students by serving as a preceptor for the University of Kansas School of Medicine. She was the first woman elected to serve as President of the Kansas Medical Society, and served as a Delegate and Chairman of the Kansas Delegation to the American Medical Association House of Delegates for many years. She received the AMA's “Pride in Profession” award in 2001.
With her husband, Roger D. Warren, M.D., opens family practice in Hanover.
University of Kansas School of Medicine