CEO, Physicians Regional-Collier Blvd
As the CEO of Physicians Regional Healthcare System, and of equal importance, as a native of Collier County, I undeniably admire those who find strength and purpose in their commitment to a community.
Yes, it’s nice when that community is my hometown of Naples, but no community can thrive without those who have made a conscious decision to make their home a better place to live. Those who place a special emphasis on the concepts of compassionate care and public service.
Family Medicine’s Dr. Robert Atkins recently came to the – albeit, difficult – decision to leave his Southeast Kentucky home to join the team at Physicians Regional. His challenge came in the decision to leave the community where he had lived his entire life. The community where he and his wife raised their four children. That special place where the “family doctor” has always been viewed as part of the family.
According to Dr. Atkins: “In a small-town culture, family is number one. Your friends and your community define who you are. From a young age, it was ingrained that you were part of a community.”
Now, it’s Physicians Regional’s and Southwest Florida’s chance to help define the next phase of Dr. Atkins’ life.
Though a proud product of the Bluegrass State, Dr. Atkins is also no stranger to change. At age 44, after 20+ years as a Civil Engineer, he made the bold decision to follow his heart and go to medical school.
As part of this decision, Dr. Atkins points to the enduring influence of the family doctor of his youth, Dr. Buttermore, the man responsible for first planting the seed that ultimately took 44 years to cultivate. Dr. Buttermore, the caring physician he observed develop incomparable doctor/patient trust, often across multiple generations of a single family.Dr. Robert Atkins. SUBMITTED PHOTO[/caption] class=”Paragraphcopy”>Then there’s the gift a five-year-old Atkins received from his father: a doctor’s bag.
As is the case with so many in the healthcare profession, Dr. Atkins certainly appreciates he was “answering the call,” but more importantly, he bravely seized the opportunity to “finally do what I was supposed to do since I was five years old.”
Given the opportunity, how many of us would do the same? Who among us would have the courage to leave behind a successful career to forge a new path? However, who cannot relate to the essential need to be professionally fulfilled and relevant?
For Dr. Atkins, this new path would address his ongoing, Christian-based desire to serve others and make his community a better place to live. “It was my calling and I had put it off long enough,” he says. “I was more afraid not to do it than to do it.”
With equal emphasis placed on both family and medicine, Dr. Atkins sought the “opportunity to care for the entire family—and the entire person.”
Of course, the lure of the sun, sand and picture-perfect lifestyle is irresistible to many of us, but family man Dr. Robert Atkins sees more: “Naples fulfills some of the small-town feel as there is a sense of community. There is a small-town atmosphere where people want you to know them, to understand who they are – they want you to care.”
His family-friendly philosophy is refreshingly simple, a reflection of his small-town roots: “We can feed everyone, we can house everyone, we can clothe everyone, but if they don’t have health, it doesn’t matter how much clothing they have, where they live or how much food they eat.”
Dr. Robert Atkins is currently accepting new patients at our Collier Boulevard campus as well as at the Physicians Regional Clinic on Marco Island. For more information, please call 239-348-4538.