Rural Practitioner

Dr. Robert Rust and Family

Dr. Robert Rust and Family

Dr. Robert Rust
Green Valley Veterinary Services
Wamego, Kansas

By Audrey Hambright

For Dr. Robert Rust, establishing a strong educational background and developing a good work ethic at a young age, will help lay the foundation for a fulfilling career in veterinary medicine.

From a young age growing up on his family’s farm near Kensington, Kansas, Rust had always wanted to be a veterinarian. Yet after starting out at Kansas State University as a pre-vet student, he was unsure if he wanted to commit to eight years of school. Rust switched to the wildlife biology program, for which he obtained his undergraduate degree. After working for environmental agencies and the public health sector, he decided he still wanted to be a veterinarian. In 2003, he applied and was accepted to the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine.

A group of first calf heifers at the Rust operation.

A group of first calf heifers at the Rust operation.

Upon graduation from veterinary school, Rust gained experience in mixed animal practice at the Lyons Veterinary Clinic in Lyons, Kansas, followed by the Twin Rivers Veterinary Clinic in Columbus, Nebraska. In 2010 after returning to Kansas, he made the decision to start his own practice in a building right behind his house where he practiced primarily large animal medicine for three years before he had the opportunity to purchase the practice in Wamego. Rust has been owner and sole practitioner at Green Valley Veterinary Services ever since.

His decision to own a practice came from his combined interest in both business and veterinary medicine, as well as the freedom to practice how he saw fit.

“As a solo practitioner, you’re limited on what you can do with your time,” he said. “It allows you to practice how you want to practice.”

However, the key, he added, is learning how to balance practice life and family life.

In addition to his love for animals, Rust has realized as he’s grown older that he enjoys the bond with the people just as much.

“As a rural practitioner, you’re not only involved in people’s livestock, but people’s lives,” he said. “You tend to have a family relationship with some of these people, not just a doctor/client relationship.”

Dr. Rust’s granddaughter helping administer fluids to a client’s calf.

Dr. Rust’s granddaughter helping administer fluids to a client’s calf.

While technology has changed the way veterinarians practice, it has also changed the way clients receive information such as trying to make their own diagnosis from the resources available online. Even though this presents a challenge, Rust encourages rural practitioners to research choices and make wise decisions that can lead the development of something unique to offer a rural community, such as consulting or artificial insemination services.

On top of managing a busy mixed animal practice and family time, Rust is also a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and has been involved with the Academy of Veterinary Consultants (AVC).

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