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2012 Workshop in Henderson, Kentucky - Story list

Doctor mom

Julysa Sosa

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Rachel Farmer gets a surprise visit from her son, John Paul, 11 months, and her husband, Heath, who give her a break from finishing charts after Henderson Pediatrics closed for the day.

For Rachel Evans Farmer, in college becoming a doctor never crossed her mind, but science courses had a real attraction.

However, after graduating with a degree in English, it was no surprise that she applied for medical school, with Orville Thomas Evans Jr., a doctor, and Nancy Evans, a nurse, for parents.

“I baby-stepped my way into medicine,” says Rachel.

After returning to her hometown of Henderson, Ky., in 2007 Rachel opened her own general pediatrics practice with business management help of her high school sweetheart husband, Heath. From the beginning they have accepted significantly fewer patients than any other practice in town because they want to have a more personal experience with patients and families.

“To me, to be a doctor is to meet a need when someone is broken,” she says. “It wasn’t just caring for the child, it’s caring for the family”

Rachel says other pediatricians in the area see up to 50 patients in a day, but she limits hers to 16 to 20 a day.

“From a business standpoint, it’s really, really hard,” she says. “It doesn’t pay the bills though, that’s for sure.”

But for Rachel, finances aren’t what's most important. What is is learning everything about her patients when they’re healthy, so she can make the harder medical decisions later as a team with the patient and his or her family.

“What separates Rachel, not just in Henderson, is her ability, as she practices sound medicine, to establish relationships and invest in the patient,” says Heath.

As a mother of two, Rachel constantly juggles crazy schedules at the office and at home. She had her daughter, Abby, in the fourth year of her medical residency.

“Definitely being a mom spills over into the pediatrics world,” she says. “I sympathize more.”

Family is Rachel’s first priority and what ultimately runs the practice. She actively sets apart daily time to spend with her husband and children — Abby, 8, and John Paul, 11 months.

“I try not to be the pediatrician to my children,” she says. ” I’d rather be the mom and let someone else be the doctor.”

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Mia Mushlock,1, checks out the toys during her checkup with Rachel Farmer at Henderson Pediatrics. Rachel has been Mia's doctor since Mia's birth, even though the Mushlocks live in Evansville, Ind.

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A close examination of Joel Glover comes from Rachel Farmer, a general pediatrician, and is given to Rachel's work from his brothers, Kobe, 6, (left) and Diamond, 12, at Methodist Hospital.

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Rachel Farmer checks her husband Heath's sore throat before heading off to work. Rachel and Heath opened their practice, Henderson Pediatrics, in 2007.

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Abby Farmer, 8, gives her mom a hand with the shopping. Rachel Farmer tries to include Abby in everything from grocery shopping to cooking dinner.

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Rachel Farmer gives her son, John Paul, 11 months, antibiotics for an ear infection during breakfast in their home. Rachel describes her mornings as crazy before getting to work at Henderson Pediatrics.

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John Paul Farmer, 11 months, does some exploring while his mother, Rachel, cooks dinner.

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Rachel Farmer and her daughter, Abby, 8, reunite after Rachel's 13-hour shift at Henderson Pediatrics and the Methodist Hospital.

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2012 Workshop in Henderson, Kentucky - Story list