“It actually all started with a phone call to Jeanne Hoagland that lasted more than an hour and sometimes when you know, you know.” And that’s how Dr. Andrew Wyant MD, his LPN wife, Krystal and their family made it to El Dorado Springs.
As they began looking at possible relocation, the Wyants found a physician placement agency that helped them make contact throughout Missouri and Illinois, both areas of interest to them.
After interviewing at El Dorado Springs along with Springfield and Joplin (all of whom offered him employment), he told the agency, “I’ve found the one I want and will sign a contract.”
Dr. Wyant mentioned Hospital Administrator Jana Witt and Physician Recruiter Jeanne Hoagland as being very welcoming and helpful.
Dr. Andrew Wyant MD. Photo by Jeanne Hoagland
Dr. Wyant had a good job teaching at the University of Kentucky Medical School, having just achieved tenure last year. Associates told him he now had a cushy job and wouldn’t have to write any more papers or books. He’s done both. He left the next year to come here. He spoke of providing healthcare in a family practice atmosphere in a community this size as a “mission” for both him and his wife.
He said this is not a passing fancy. He plans to stay here 20 or 30 years.
Dr. Wyant’s credentials would get him a job just about anywhere. He has been a surgeon. That’s how he met his wife. All he could see were her eyes under her surgical cap as she assisted in many of his surgeries.
He asked her to meet him for coffee. That went well, so they decided to meet again for coffee. After the third coffee date, they were engaged.
When he told his dad back in his southern Indiana hometown about her, his dad told him her family lived five doors down from them. Her dad is a full-blooded Hawaiian and plays the ukulele while Krystal dances and sings. (Sings well, Dr. Wyant said.)
Fresh out of high school, Dr. Wyant played guitar with a band. He said their pickup kept breaking down, and he had to call his dad to be rescued. The last time it happened was in Canada. His dad suggested that maybe he should go to college and get a real job. He listened.
Soon his attention was captured by chemistry and biology. He followed those interests on into medical school.
Q. What would you like people to know about you?
“I would like people to know I am a broadly trained physician who is a rare bird. I have a real interest in being a primary care, old fashioned general practice doctor who takes care of as much as possible in the bounds of what is safe and realistic. I want to be a good servant to the community. I just enjoy making a difference in people’s lives.”
“The reason I picked El Dorado Springs, I’m able to do something that is pretty rare. I’m able to see patients in my clinic and do hospital in-patient care.”
“I’ve been in Emergency Medicine also, and I like that. I felt like I was good at it. The burnout rate is high in Emergency Medicine, but in that field, I missed getting to know patients and their families.”
“Being involved in a community like El Dorado Springs, you get to take care of entire families – grandparents, parents, kids. You see them at church, at school functions, the grocery store and gas stations. I’m already having that happen. This is a rare opportunity.”
“Every other job that I looked at had an outpatient clinic where I’d see 15 or 20 patients a day, or whatever. You’d work your 8 to 4, and you go home. And that’s it. If you found something more complicated, you’d send them to a hospital, and they wouldn’t necessarily come back to you. That’s not the kind of medical practice that I want.”
“On the other side, you might be only a hospital doctor (hospitalist). That’s the trend in big cities. I don’t think it’s optimal. It’s fragmented. But it’s a necessary thing we have to deal with in today’s healthcare.”
“Cedar County Memorial Hospital is locally run.” He said that hospitals are being bought up by big conglomerates. “You lose the hometown feel. You lose the hometown support, and you don’t know who you’ll see when you go in for treatment.”
“Cedar County Memorial Hospital is owned by the county. It has a Hospital Board made up of citizens of the community. Really, that is what drew me to this job, the fact that I could practice in that kind of way. Call it old fashioned or whatever, but that is what I want to do with the rest of my career.”
“I have been in private practice. I’ve been in gynecology, surgery, obstetrics, I’ve done ER. I was chosen for a special program at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. I’ve written text books, published articles, done research at the University of Kentucky. I went there planning on staying a couple of years and stayed a lot longer than I had planned.”
“I’m a rare bird. I need a challenge.”
“Here I see a chance to come into this community to help everyone who might have a need. Krystal and I have a similar purpose. Purpose is important to me. We both wanted to find a community where we can be servants and make a difference: help people but not only in medicine. We want to give back to the community in other ways. One way is by supporting other businesses. We are consumers and we want to do things here. We try to do all our business right here in El Dorado Springs. Our kids are 15, 13 and 7. The two older ones, Juliet and Jude, will go to the public school and are already involved, The youngest, Josie, may go to the Christian School.”
Q. How do they like it?
“So far, so good. Jude is playing baseball. Juliet is in the summer volleyball program. We didn’t have that where we came from.”
“I’m being as honest as I can be. We’ve noticed that relative to where we’ve been, the people here have been welcoming and friendly. It’s been a tremendous contrast. The people have been warm, easy to get to know, welcoming, cordial and helpful.”
“The hospital, too. They have been honest. They told us what they’d do and thus far they’ve done exactly what they said. That’s not the way everybody works. I can’t ask for more than that.”
Q. What else drew you to El Dorado Springs?
“We liked the historic downtown, the Park, the band. The hospital was exactly what we were looking for: the level of care and things they were offering.”
“All the people we met: Jana Witt, Jeanne Hoagland, Carla Gilbert and Shannon Mays, with Shannon and Associates Real Estate, were impressive, they really were. It was a pretty easy decision for us.”
“This is where I want to be for a long term career.”
“I like working. I enjoy keeping my mind sharp.”
“I’ve got patients already coming to me who were driving to Kansas City, Springfield or Joplin to see a doctor.”