FAIRMONT - Dr. Brent Griffin worked in private practice for 11-plus years in Blue Earth; now he's part of Mayo, working in family medicine at the organization's Fairmont site.
"The toughest part of the transition is not seeing my wife every day," said Griffin.
Shirley Griffin, a nurse, worked alongside her husband at the Blue Earth office since they opened the practice. But the medical field is going through tremendous changes, and the Griffins decided the time had come for them to change too.
"It's more desirable for doctors to link up with larger clinics," Griffin said. "It's good for the doctor, and it's good for the patient too."
The benefit of being inside a system like Mayo, says Griffin, in comparison with running his own show, is the ready access to specialists, equipment and a wide support network.
"It's a win/win for everyone."
And that includes Shirley Griffin, according to her husband.
"My wife's excited about me being here," Griffin said. "It's a good fit. I like rural medicine; I like having more physicians around to improve patient care. ... Hopefully I'll be here for a long time."
This is not the first time the physician has worked in the Fairmont facility. About 14 years ago, shortly after graduating from medical school, he worked part-time in the local ER.
"I like Fairmont," he said.
Small towns in general are to Griffin's likings. He grew up in North Dakota, outside Grand Forks. He went to school for physical therapy and worked in the field for several years, before deciding MD was the only title he wanted.
"Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to be a doctor," he said. "I just went around the circle a little different."
In addition to his experience in physical therapy, Griffin also has a special interest in dermatology and cosmetic laser medicine - a service he provided to his patients in Blue Earth.
Developing a rapport with patients can be a challenge for almost any physician.
"It's a learning process, getting to know the patient, and the door swings both ways," Griffin said. "A patient has to get to know you, and that certainly doesn't happen instantaneously."
The Griffins have three children, ages 19, 17 and 11. In his free time - not that he has a lot - the doctor enjoys woodworking.