Becoming a doctor wasn’t on Dr. Timothy Jacobs’ radar. In fact, before pursuing that path, he worked at Quincy Clinic throughout college and started a career in pharmaceutical sales after graduation, working alongside the doctors he would eventually call colleagues.
“I started selling pharmaceuticals right after I got out of college. I was going to go back and do a graduate program when I graduated college, but Bill Grootens, a pharmacist at the Quincy Clinic, called me one day and said, ‘You know, they’re interviewing for this job, and I think you should interview for it.’ It was a pretty good job selling pharmaceuticals at that time,” Dr. Jacobs shared.
While on the job, he made friends with a couple of osteopathic physicians in Missouri, who one day approached him with a question: “Have you ever thought about going back to medical school?”
“I said ‘no’ and they said, ‘Well, you should think about it.’ So, I thought about it, and at 34 I packed up and decided to do something different. My wife and I moved to Kirksville, we already had a couple children. My wife was very supportive,” he said.
He went on to graduate with his medical degree from the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, MO, and completed his residency at the Quincy Family Practice Center through Southern Illinois University (SIU).
Dr. Jacobs has always had a special place in his heart for QMG. He was a patient at Quincy Clinic (before it became QMG). During his residency, he worked alongside physicians he saw growing up and who helped guide his approach to medicine. Those physicians included Dr. Merle Crossland and Dr. Robert Murphy.
“I was very fortunate that Dr. Crossland was here at the time. He was a surgeon and he’d been my family doctor. I did a couple rotations with him during my residency. He was that physician you wanted to emulate — great bedside manner, superb skill,” he shared.
He continued, “I remember Dr. Murphy. He was always running behind in his appointments, but that was because he treated patients so well. They knew they would get their time with him, so they didn’t mind waiting. He was a very good physician and compassionate fellow. I remember so well, that after he left the clinic for the day, which would be 7 or 8 at night, he would go make house calls. That’s the kind of dedication that I remember those early physicians having.”
Another influence on his career was QMG physician Dr. Dan Evans.
“I did rotations with many of the physicians here. Dr. Evans was one of my mentors, and now he’s one of my colleagues. We were on the board together and have remained very good friends,” he said.
Following his residency, Dr. Jacobs served in the Air Force. Although he thought about a career in the military, he came back to Quincy and QMG, with no regrets.
“I was in the Air Force for a couple years and I was out in Las Vegas. I think it was always my hope to come home,” he said.
Both he and his wife are from Quincy and their families were here. So, in 1995, his family made another change and moved back to the community they love.
“I’ve been at the Ambulatory Care ever since. I thought I would be here a couple years and start my own practice, but I taught over at SIU part-time and helped get the Sports Medicine department going here. Working here allowed me to do that. It has been very rewarding.”
The most rewarding part he says is the patients. As a physician in the Ambulatory Care Center, Dr. Jacobs is grateful to care for and meet many of the community’s patients. He’s a familiar face to many, and the opportunity to be there for people in their time of need is something he doesn’t take for granted.
“It feels really good. I’ve had a lot of people say I want you to be my primary physician, of course, that’s not the role we fill here in the walk-in clinic,” he said. “There’s been a lot of great things that have happened. And we’re so accessible here because you don’t have to make an appointment. Sometimes we fill in when family doctors aren’t available. It’s really worked out very well.”
Looking back at his career, he has had many happy moments, but sometimes it’s the difficult moments that he remembers.
”You think of the tough things. A lot of times a person will come into a walk-in clinic thinking they have something minor, and you’ll diagnose them with something major. Unfortunately, I’ve diagnosed some cancers here. I do have to say our Oncology department has always been very, very good. If you diagnose someone with cancer they don’t want to wait, and the oncology folks have always been so gracious with getting people in,” he shared.
Through those difficult times and the happy ones, he knew he could always count on those surrounding him. Working alongside the nurses and team at QMG and his Ambulatory Care colleagues — Dr. David Arndt, Dr. Travis Moore, and Dr. Ernest Wallace — will be something he always treasures.
“I’ll miss the people. I’ve had some excellent nurses and my colleagues here are just top-notch; I couldn’t have asked for better partners,” he said. “The stability we’ve had in the Ambulatory Care Center, you just don’t see that many places. Many people work in this setting and move on. We have had people move on, but the stability we’ve had over the last 15 years has been tremendous. I mean when you look at Dr. Arndt has been over 30 years. I’ve been here nearly 30 years. This is the first place Dr. Wallace came after residency, and he’s been here 17 years. Dr. Moore is a seasoned guy who has been here for 12 years. When you look at that, there’s probably 80 or 90 years of experience among us. I think we do a pretty good service.”
He looks forward to seeing what QMG has ahead. Just as he was mentored as a young physician, he knows the next generation of physicians will take great care of patients. Seeing those physicians work alongside him gave him the opportunity to serve as the mentor this time around.
“Dr. Matt Brink (QMG Family Practice physician) worked with me as a premed student. It’s very rewarding that he went to the same medical school as I did. I think with the young physicians we’re bringing in, we’ll continue to be strong in the future,” he said.
On September 30, 2022, Dr. Jacobs will retire from a career that has meant so much to him. He looks forward to what’s ahead, including traveling, spending time with his six grandchildren, and getting started on a bucket list with his wife.
In saying goodbye, he does so with pride and gratitude. In total, he spent 29 years at QMG starting with his first job at the clinic, which was delivering supplies while working his way through college to his role today as a physician.
“I’ve never looked back. I’m glad I did it. It would have been easy to say, ‘I’m too old or it’s too hard.’ The study of medicine, then the career and the patients, which is what it’s all about — taking care of people. That’s probably the part I will miss because when you do something to help people, it’s very rewarding.”
Congratulations, Dr. Jacobs. We will miss your kindness and care. Enjoy this next chapter.