Dr. Lance Tuetken always thought he would be a farmer.
Growing up on a farm in Iowa, he began helping his father at an early age. He regularly helped mend fences, feed cattle and assist his dad any way he could. When he graduated from high school, Dr. Tuetken’s parents encouraged him to leave the farm and further his education. He attended Iowa State University, where he graduated four years later with an agricultural business degree.
After graduation, he embarked on a career in business which took him across the United States, from Atlanta to Memphis to Kansas City.
“I felt unsatisfied with the career path I was on and decided to make a change – to attend veterinary school or medical school. I thought both would be valuable back in Iowa. The determining factor was the conditions in which I would see patients. Did I want to be surrounded by manure or in a clinical setting?” Dr. Tuetken laughs. “The choice was pretty easy, when I thought about it in those terms.”
He completed his pre-med courses at University of Memphis. Then, attended medical school and completed his residency at the University of Tennessee in Memphis, where he met his wife, Amy.
After finishing his residency, he and Amy moved back to Iowa, where he served patients in a very small town.
“I basically saw patients from womb to tomb,” he said. “I would go from delivering babies to immunizing children to seeing patients for yearly check-ups to offering hospice care. If there was a patient who needed to be seen, I would see them. It was a wonderful opportunity, but could be exhausting at times since there weren’t many physicians in town.”
Amy, who was born and raised in Arkansas, wanted to move closer to home to be near her parents. She suggested Jonesboro to her husband, who had never heard of the city.
“When she suggested Jonesboro, I was interested, although I had never been there before,” he said. “I reached out to the First Care team to see if there were any openings available and the rest is history. We moved to Jonesboro in 2005 and I’ve been seeing patients at First Care since then.”
Dr. Tuetken’s favorite aspect of family practice is the variety and long-term care he is able to provide patients.
“Each person I see in the clinic is different, with different symptoms, health issues and diagnoses,” he said. “It is never boring being a family practice physician. I also love the fact that I get to grow old with my patients. I see kids, adults and grandparents – sometimes within the same family. It is always a pleasure to be trusted with a new generation.”
Dr. Tuetken and Amy have three children – two daughters and a son. Their children are very involved in extracurricular activities, so the Tuetkens’ weekends are spent supporting and cheering on their kids. Dr. Tuetken also enjoys tinkering at home, a throwback to his time on the family farm.
“I love woodworking, piddling on our acreage, working on cars,” he said. “My wife jokes that we will never have anything new because I can fix just about anything we have that breaks.”
Dr. Tuetken practices at St. Bernards First Care, 415 E. Matthews. To make an appointment, please call 870-972-8181 or visit stbfirstcare.com.