Growing up on an acreage in Hartley, Iowa, Dr. Robert Harson learned many valuable lessons from being raised in a rural community.
"I was a big animal lover and caring for animals taught me lessons on caring for people,"he says. "It's hard work; you need to be caring and compassionate; and sometimes, you have to deal with the not-so-pleasant aspects of life."
His aspirations eventually turned toward caring for people, influenced by the gentle and kind approach his mother, a nurse, had toward her patients. By second grade, he knew two things: He would become a physician. He would go to the University of Iowa College of Medicine.
With a Master of Science in Public Health, he planned to focus his medical career on infectious disease and epidemiology. In medical school, he did his surgical rotation first to "get it out of the way,"only to find himself energized by doing surgeries. He liked to be able to quickly make a positive change in someone's health.
It's the personal interactions with patients he finds most satisfying as a surgeon. "In medicine, there's the physical part of making someone better -- something which surgery can often accomplish. But there's also the emotional and spiritual side of healing, which are equally important to good patient care. That's the part that makes my job most worthwhile."
When not in surgery, Dr. Harson spends time at home out in the yard or gardening with his wife, Mindy, and their four children. A huge fan of art, his family likes to draw, paint and visit museums.
Surgery is an art, too, he says. He's proud that experienced DSG surgeons have chosen the Quad Cities area to perform that art, with advanced procedures and university-level care.
"In college, I once heard a professor talk about how science lacked creativity. I thought 'That's so profoundly wrong,'"he says. "The art of medicine is talking with patients, getting to know their spot in life, weighing the risks, and helping them decide if surgery is right for them or not. That's an art -- an essential part of what we do as surgeons."