Archive for Wednesday, December 1, 1999

KU student shadowing local physician

December 1, 1999

For 44 years, Dr. Philip Stevens has taught his patients in Tonganoxie the benefits of good health.

Now, he's doing another sort of teaching. And so far, he's loving it.

David Becker, a 20-year-old Kansas University student and Tonganoxie native, will spend many hours during the next 1 1/2 years learning from Stevens. Becker is one of six KU juniors selected for the Scholars in Primary Care program, which is designed to increase the number of doctors practicing in rural areas.

Becker began work last Wednesday with his new mentor. Under Stevens' tutelage, Becker can observe and learn, but he cannot perform any medical procedures. He'll work at least 40 hours this semester and next, as well as next summer.

"I think it will be pretty much an everyday thing during the summer," Becker said.

Then he'll work during each of the next two semesters and another summer before he completes the program.

"What I hope to get out of this most is how to deal with the patients," Becker said. "He's pretty good. So if I can pick up anything, that will be it."

Becker, who as a toddler earned the moniker "Dr. David" from his grandmother, said he's always wanted to be a physician. Now, he has the opportunity to learn from the man who was his doctor.

"I feel very comfortable whenever I come in to visit him as a patient," Becker said. "He makes you feel very comfortable. He cares about you not just the cold that you have."

Stevens said he jumped at the

opportunity to help a would-be physician.

"The main thing I think I have to offer is to be really nice to people," Stevens said. "I want everyone who comes in this office to feel they are important to us and we care about them. If I can impart that, then David's time will be well-spent."

Stevens' own mentor was his father, Dr. Delos M. Stevens, who practiced in Jefferson County from 1912 to 1955.

"I just soaked it up," Stevens said about the time spent at his father's arm. "My dad was one of the nicest guys who ever lived."

While he's in Stevens' office, Becker also hopes to pick up pointers on how to run a medical practice, including bookkeeping, billing and filing.

"I either want to be a pediatrician or a general practitioner," Becker said. "It'd be pretty hard to be a pediatrician in a small town. I wouldn't mind coming back to Tonganoxie and practicing."

Becker, the son of Gene and Debbie Becker, has two brothers, Brett, 18, and Andrew, 14. He is the grandson of George and Virginia Warren, also of Tonganoxie.

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