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Family medicine a natural choice for new NUMC physician
Following some life-changing decisions, this past August Annette Schmit-Cline, MD, joined the staff of the New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC) as a new family physician. The unconventional path this mother of two took to achieve her goals may not only make her a better doctor, but also serves as a source of inspiration for her patients.
Annette Schmit-Cline, MD
Seizing an opportunity
Schmit-Cline, 53, was raised on a farm in North Mankato, Minn. surrounded by nine brothers and sisters. After finishing high school she got a job as an electronic technician at the 3M manufacturing plant in New Ulm. She was also married and had two daughters.
Schmit-Cline was in her mid-30s when her life took a dramatic turn. In a twist of fate, 3M announced plans to cut back its work force. What could have been a devastating blow however, became a rare opportunity.
The company offered Schmit-Cline a generous severance package that would open new doors. It was then that she decided to go back to school and become a doctor.
"I was excited about medicine but wasn't sure it was realistic. I just thought it would be a lot more interesting to make medical diagnoses and I wanted to help people," she recalled.
Until this point, a career in medicine had been only a dream. Determined to make it a reality, Schmit-Cline took her shot and never looked back.
A life-changing decision
Schmit-Cline enrolled in Minnesota State University, Mankato. After completing her undergraduate studies, she was accepted at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis. Schmit-Cline said it wasn't easy to balance her role as a wife and mother with the medical training that took her away from her family. In order to stay together and allow Schmit-Cline to be closer to school, the family relocated from New Ulm to Mankato.
"Going to school full time was not a problem; however, I did find it difficult to be away from my children many nights during the week," Schmit-Cline said. "I drove back and forth to Minneapolis a lot, and spent more time on the phone. I also brought my younger child to class with me when she was having a hard time having me away."
With the unfailing support of her family and the staff at the University of Minnesota, Schmit-Cline overcame a multitude of obstacles to achieve her goal of becoming a doctor.
"I was very excited. I enjoyed the process, and never had second thoughts about it," she said. "My family was also very excited for me, and supportive. The University of Minnesota was supportive as well. I knew I could go part time if it got to be too much."
A team approach to health
It wasn't difficult for Schmit-Cline to choose her specialty. She knew she wanted to treat people of all ages and take a holistic approach to their care. So family medicine was the natural choice for her.
"I am interested in the entire process of healing. I also want to deal with a variety of medical problems and bring in the entire mental, spiritual and physical to one place," she said. "This way, I'm dealing with people of all ages. It's also neat to see grandparents bringing in their grandchildren."
Schmit-Cline adds that it's essential that she and her patients work as a unit so they can make informed decisions about their health. "I am just an instrument of my patients’ health," she explained. "I am there to offer them help but I can't do it alone. We need to work together."
Although she didn't mind traveling to a bigger city for her medical training, Schmit-Cline is happy to settle back into her life in New Ulm. "I like the community ties and I like to get to know people," said Schmit-Cline. "New Ulm Medical Center is a very nice place to work and I'm looking forward to serving the community."
To schedule an appointment with Annette Schmit-Cline, MD, board-certified in family medicine, call 507-217-5011.