WEBSTER COUNTY, Ky. (3/13/13) - In a day and age when patients at hospitals and doctors' offices are treated as just a number, there is something comforting about going to a place where, pardon the pun, everybody knows your name. But at Dr. Cole’s clinic in Providence, that is exactly how you feel when you walk in the front door.
Dr. Wayne Cole, DOD has been in practice in Providence for 42 years, and he has seen many doctors come and go during that time. That could be because of the way you’re treated by him and his staff.
When you walk through the door you’re greeting by the same smiling faces that have always been there. They’re sorry your sick, but they’re glad to see you just the same. You’re treated like a member of the family, not just a number.
Now days, at most offices, you need an appointment just to be seen, and good luck getting in if you need to be seen any time in the next two days. If you need a doctor it doesn’t matter, they’ll see you when it fits into their schedule, not yours.
I remember a few occasions, back in the 1980’s, when Doc treated me right in the kitchen of his house on Main Street, hours after his office was closed. He’s a throwback to the days when doctors still made house calls, not for the money, but because they cared about their patients.
“I still get the occasional knock on my door,” Dr. Cole said with a smile. “If it's a laceration or something, I usually send them on to the hospital, but I still treat a few cases at home. I’ll still even make a house call from time to time.”
Dr. Cole is a Providence native who graduated from Providence High School in 1950. After spending two and a half years coal mining, he started college, which he finished in 1960. Four years later he graduated from medical school and joined Dr. Cobb at Cardwell Hospital in Providence.
He started his private practice in Providence in 1966.
“When I started out it was just me and two girls working out of a house on the highway,” he recalled. “Back then I was working 7:00 in the morning until 8:00 at night. During the flu season that year I saw 162 patients in one day. Two other days that same week we had 140.”
During his early years he spent a lot of time at the hospital, delivering between 150 and 175 babies at Cardwell Hospital.
“After 1973 everything changed,” he said. “Federal regulations made it so that we couldn’t maintain the hospital any longer. We just couldn’t comply with all of the new regulations.”
While Dr. Cole was finishing his last year of medical school at a hospital in Missouri, his daughter Kelly was born in that same hospital. Kelly grew up in a house with a father who was a doctor and a mother, Billie Cardwell Cole, who was an RN, so going into medicine was a natural step.
“Kelly was a lab tech at Trover Clinic in Madisonville,” Wayne Cole said. “She just walked in one day and asked what I thought about her going to medical school.”
“My original plan when I went to school, was to work with dad,” Kelly said. “But when I got out of medical school and residency there really wasn’t enough space up here.”
Instead she took a position in Dixon, where she stayed for nine years.
“I encouraged her to work outside my clinic,” Wayne told the J-E in an earlier interview. “But I left it up to her when she wanted to come.”
Kelly came home to the clinic in Providence in November of 2006.
Dr. Wayne Cole lights up when talking about his family practice, which really is a family practice. In addition to his daughter, he also has three granddaughters working for him. Granddaughter Chrissy Branson is an RN and will graduate this fall as a nurse practitioner, granddaughter Candie Outlaw is also an RNs, and another granddaughter, Carlie Cole, is a Registered Radiology Tech.
“And my youngest daughter, Kimberly Reusch, is a speech pathologist in Henderson,” he added.
Besides his work as a doctor, Dr. Wayne Cole has filled many other positions as well. From 1984 to 1999 he was a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air National Guard. He was on the Green River District Health Department for nearly 30 years. He also served four years on the Providence City Council and four years as the mayor of Providence.
Even the office staff who aren’t members of the Cole family are still part of the family. Nurse Practitioner Heather Davis, a Webster County native, and office manager and nurse Kelly Yates, who worked with Kelly Cole in Dixon, both said they have known the Cole family for years.
J-E News Editor
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