Dr. Crispin Webb and his wife Nancy will be leaving Milbank in June. Dr. Webb will join a family practice clinic in Edina, MN. Webb has been a physician in family medicine in Milbank for 14 years.
“It’s hard to leave,” he said. “We made a lot of good friends in Milbank, but we are moving closer to family and looking forward to that.”
During their time in Milbank, the Webb family was involved in church and school activities. Nancy served as the Sunday School Superintendent at Living Word Lutheran Church and helped out with the Parents Promoting Education (PPE) group at Koch School. Crispin enjoyed teaching Sunday School and taking part in adult education opportunities. With four children, they spent a majority of their time involved in band, choir, theatre, dance, cross country, and soccer.
Dr. Webb has seen a lot of things in his career in Milbank, but feels he is leaving at the right time for him and his family. “When we came to town, the hospital was just being sold by the Sisters to the community board. And now with the building of the new hospital and new doctors coming to town, I feel I have been a part of a beginning and an end and am proud to have had that opportunity. I know the healthcare community of Milbank has a great future ahead of them. I have worked with the best medical staff here.”
Dr. Webb said working in rural healthcare has always been challenging yet rewarding. “There are problems the medical staff in a rural area need to be ready to handle anytime day or night. It takes a special type of person. No two days are the same.”
He said he is ready to ease back into a normal office position. “It will be a balance of work and family and more favorable for the kids.” He will not see hospital patients or be on-call for emergency room care. He will see the same types of illnesses he saw in the Milbank clinic, but without all the extra duties. “I will not have to juggle all those demands. I leave here feeling satisfied to have practiced in a small rural town for 14 years.”
The Webb family enjoys traveling and outdoor activities such as running, biking, hiking, fly fishing, and camping. During the 2013-2014 school year, they moved to New Zealand, where Webb aided the medical staff in an urgent care facility. “We were looking for a big adventure before the kids started graduating and departing from home,” Nancy explained. “Everything fell into place and we feel that year was meant to be.”
They lived in a city of 45,000 people which had a shortage of doctors. Despite the lack of physicians, Dr. Webb was able to work shorter shifts with no on-call work. “I was able to spend more time with my family and travel.”
The children attended public school while in New Zealand. They were required to wear uniforms and rode public transportation to and from school each day. “It was a huge transition for the kids, but they made a lot of good friends and loved it.” Because of that experience, the couple feels the move to the Twin Cities will be less scary for their children.
Throughout their stay in New Zealand, the family spent a lot of time at their beach house. “It wasn’t the hot sunny beach people think of, though,” said Nancy. “It was windy and cool. We usually wrapped up in blankets, but it was beautiful.” They also did a lot of hiking and enjoyed activities in their town along a river.
Dr. Webb said his work in New Zealand was vastly different than his practice in the U. S. and a highlight of his career. He explained the waiting rooms were almost always full because of New Zealand’s first come, first serve policy. Patients who needed to see a specialist also had to endure long waiting lists. Another challenge for him was writing prescriptions. “New Zealand has a list of prescriptions that are restricted. So, if I needed to use one of those, special approval had to be given.”
Webb said he knew at a young age he wanted to be a doctor. ““I always liked problem solving and taking on challenges. When I was a boy, my dad became very sick, which made a big impression on me. I wanted to help people the way my dad’s healthcare providers helped him.”
Crispin graduated from high school in Belle Fourche while Nancy made Rochester, MN, her alma mater. The two met while in college at Augustana University in Sioux Falls where Crispin obtained his bachelors degree in biology, on the pre-med track. He graduated from the University of South Dakota Medical School in 1999 and did his residency at a family medicine clinic in Mason City, IA. “We then moved to Milbank in 2002 because I had an obligation to serve a rural area. I definitely fulfilled that obligation plus I stayed 10 more years,” he laughed.
Nancy obtained her elementary education degree and taught in Yankton while Crispin was in med school. Once the couple began their family, she stayed home full-time with the children and also substituted at Koch School. “I enjoyed the variety of subbing, being in the school with our kids, and the flexibility it provided.”
Their oldest child, Ellie, is a 2016 graduate of MHS and will attend Augustana in the fall. She is planning to obtain a degree in elementary education, like her mother. “We are excited she is going to the same college we attended,” the couple said. “We did not push that, it just worked out that way.” Mimi completed her freshman year at MHS, Ben just finished the fourth grade, and Julia, the second grade.
Crispin and Nancy said they feel blessed to have called Milbank home for 14 years. “Milbank will always be our hometown,” they agreed.
Dr. Webb’s last day at the Milbank clinic will be June 17.