TORRINGTON – Torrington will be home to a newly established general family medical practice on Aug. 1. WyoBraska Family Practice, owned and operated by Aaron Rutz, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), of Torrington, will begin seeing patients very soon.
With Aug. 1 just around the corner, Rutz and his team are working to finalize their opening plans.
“It’s been many years in the making,” Rutz said. “I’ve always wanted to do, but I put it off until I got some more experience. I did emergency medicine and gastroenterology in Casper, then my wife and I moved to Torrington five years ago.”
Rutz previously worked at Banner Health in urgent care and is currently working as the medication technician for the Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution (WMCI) east of Torrington. Through his time in medicine, he has acquired extensive experience and practice in emergency medicine, gastroenterology and urgent care.
“It takes a special kind of person to be willing to help those in a correctional facility,” Rutz explained. “I want to help everyone and I am willing to do the job.”
Rutz’s friends told him he needed to open up a clinic in Torrington, but he was set on acquiring more experience before opening his clinic. He now feels his is ready to take on the task and be able to provide the level of service he feels eastern Wyoming and the Nebraska Panhandle need.
“I’ve done a lot, but I wanted to get a lot more experience in chronic care, high pressure, diabetes, cancer, things like that,” Rutz said of working at WMCI. “Specifically, I was doing COVID for two years and I felt like I was going to lose my skills. You are seeing the same type of patient over, over and over. Going to the prison, I am in charge of all aspects of the inmate’s care. You do everything there…and you get very complex patients there.”
The experience acquired through employment with WMCI and the complexity of the patients he saw, he developed the confidence to open his own general practice clinic.
Rutz told the Telegram his desire to become a practitioner of medicine began early in his life, when growing up in Rawlins and later while attending the University of Wyoming in Laramie.
“As long as I can remember, I wanted to go into medicine, I wanted to go to medical school and become a doctor,” he said. “Once I got into UW, I knew more about nurse practitioners because Laramie has a lot of nurse practitioners. One year, I got sick and got into a nurse practitioner there in town and I got to know more about them.”
To become a nurse practitioner, one must earn a four-year degree in nursing and spend two more years earning their family nurse practitioner licensure. After achieving licensure, an FNP can diagnose and treat patients.
“You can hang your own shingle as a nurse practitioner,” Rutz said. “Growing up and being from Rawlins, I saw the same doctor for everything. You saw him for your sports physical, you saw him when you were sick, you saw him for medication, everything, they were a true family doctor. That’s what I like.”
Working in urgent care, Rutz wasn’t able to provide the level of service he wanted to deliver. He would see patients, but never got to see the follow-up to determine how well they were doing or be fully involved in their care.
“Being in urgent care, I would see a patient and I would only see them when they were sick,” Rutz said. “I never got to see them when they were well. I never got to, if I prescribed a medication for them, I never got to see if it worked or how they were doing afterwards. You don’t get to build that relationship.”
Having lived in the area for the past five years, being a medical provider for as long as he has and being a member of the Torrington Volunteer Fire Department, Rutz feels he has established a relationship with the community, but he wants to nurture and grow the relationship as a community care provider.
“I want to keep healthcare here,” Rutz said. “I’m not quick to refer. When somebody comes to me, I’m not going to refer it right away. I am going to try to make you better and treat you myself. It’s important to the patient to have trust in their provider and that they are going to do everything for them and try to keep them here.”
Rutz expressed there is a time and a place for referrals, but he hopes to do everything within his capabilities to avoid referrals.
“So, if I do refer you, it’s for a very good reason,” Rutz said.
Starting Aug. 1, Rutz will be using his expertise to cover everything from sports physicals to establishing care for other health conditions. He hopes to encompass the atmosphere as a small town or country “doc” by providing all-encompassing healthcare for the residents of the WyoBraska area.
Before long, you will be able to find WyoBraska Family Practice on Facebook. The page is under construction but should be finalized soon. To contact WyoBraska Family Practice, contact 307-532-5111. This phone number may be familiar to some, and that it is because Steamboat Chiropractic Health and Wellness Clinic, run by Dr. Korinne John, will be sharing their office space with Rutz and WyoBraska Family Practice.