Archive for Thursday, September 27, 2007

New doctor finds good fit in Lansing

September 27, 2007

The saying goes, that to be a doctor, a person has to have pretty tough skin to handle the roller coaster of emotions to come when the health of another life is in their hands.

Dr. Stephanie Suber is not one of those doctors.

She admits she's cried when a patient makes a turn for the worst. She said she couldn't help but form friendships with most of her patients. But for Suber, it's these characteristics that make her stand out in the medical world.

As the newest doctor to join the practice of Dr. Richard Whitlow, Suber will enter Lansing's medical community, and with her arrival she hopes to form the relationships with her patients that will lead to longer health.

Suber, who lived in Lansing for three years as a child but later moved to Topeka with her family, got her bachelor's degree in microbiology from the University of Kansas. She attended medical school at Des Moines University in Des Moines, Iowa, and has recently finished her residency training at Research and Goppert in Kansas City, Mo.

When looking for a job after finishing 11 years of schooling, Suber said she didn't want to leave her current home in the countryside close to Tonganoxie. She began searching for jobs in the area when St. John Hospital offered to help her get started and connected her with Whitlow.

Suber said that right away she knew that Whitlow's practice would be a good match. She said Whitlow's personality of being easy to talk to, enthusiastic and a good communicator drew her to the practice immediately.

So far, Suber has attended events for the Council on Aging and the Cushing Memorial Hospital's health fair to introduce herself to the community.

Entering the medical profession has been a dream of Suber's since a young age. As a gymnast growing up, Suber became interested in sports medicine but later decided that general family medicine was a better fit.

With each year in school that she worked toward her medical degree, Suber said her dream solidified and she knew that family medicine was where she belonged because she couldn't just focus on one part of the body. She said she preferred looking at how the entire body functioned, including her patients' personality, when treating a problem.

Suber's patients will range in all ages, but for each one she plans to establish good relationships that will continue through the years as the patients grow. She said these days a single patient's medical records are spread across several doctors, but she hopes to form a continuity that will benefit patients by having their history all in one place.

Following a patient as they grow and knowing their entire medical history and then one day maybe even treating that patient's own children is what Suber looks forward to the most. She said when that trust is developed between a doctor and a patient, better care is always the result.

Her goal during her time in Lansing is to educate her patients to help them stay healthy. She said she wants to be a doctor people can talk to and prefers having an open discussion about treatment options with her patients before ever making a decision.

When it comes to a patient begin successfully treated, Suber gives that recognition to the patients themselves. She said she is there to provide guidance, but it is the patient who has to take a pill every day or make a lifestyle change. She said she feels proud of the hard work that patients go through to achieve their goals and is grateful that she has the opportunity to be a part of it.

Outside of her work with patients, Suber spends her time with her two children, Ben, who is 3 years old, and Ellie, who is 9 months, and her husband Andy. She said after working 90-hour weeks during her residency training, she looks forward to having more time, and especially more energy, to devote to her family.

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