Dr. William McMillan, 62, has been been a family medicine physician in Jamestown for 32 years. McMillan moved to Jamestown in 1987 after completing his family practice residency in Duluth, Minnesota.
At the time of the move, McMillan's son, Robert, was 9 months old.
This month, Robert, now 33, was hired alongside his father as a general surgeon for Sanford Health in Jamestown. Robert said one of his favorite parts of the job so far: having an office directly across from his father's.
"Rob is my consultant, so if I see somebody needing a surgical intervention then I can refer to him ... he's done a number of surgical cases that I have asked him to take care of," William said. "I love it."
"I think it's really fun. For my whole life I've always sort of been looking up to my dad and seeking his advice on pretty much everything, and now for the first time, occasionally, he wants to know my advice, which is kind of fun," Robert said. "Now that I'm through with training we can talk about things as colleagues."
William grew up in Grafton, North Dakota, before attending medical school at the University of North Dakota. William said he moved on to Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, before completing his residency in Duluth.
Robert attended Jamestown High School before studying mathematics at Saint John's University in Minnesota. Robert said he enjoyed math but "always kind of knew" that he wanted to eventually pursue a medical career, eventually attending medical school at Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska. He completed his five-year residency at the Medical College of Milwaukee in Wisconsin.
Robert said his desire for working in a rural area and being close to family were two key factors that brought him back to his hometown.
"I actually wanted to do family medicine but I kind of found that I like being in the operating room more than I like being in the clinic, so I decided at the last minute that I wanted to do surgery," Robert said. "When I was in Milwaukee I enjoyed being able to do kind of a wide variety of things, to have a little bit of autonomy ... we liked Milwaukee, but we wanted to be in a smaller area."
Robert said growing up with a father who was a doctor was a "huge" motivation for him to follow the same path.
"My dad used to take me to the old hospital and he would show me the babies in the nursery. I guess dad was really the inspiration for me," Robert said. "One of the things I remember growing up is at Mass, there would be little kids coming up to my dad and waving at him and saying hi to my dad. Now, that has happened to me a couple times."
William said he often gives his son advice about the career field, urging Jamestown's newest doctor to be honest, direct and respectful of patients no matter what the situation is.
"We get to be in the midst of some of the most joyous moments that people have and some of the most devastating ones that they have," William said. "Being as honest as possible ... when people are about to hear bad news, sometimes the worst thing you can do is to not give them the bad news. You just have to be honest.
"That's hard. But that's the reality of the jobs that we chose," William said.
Along with being near family and working in a rural setting that allows him to have "a large scope of practice" for surgery, Robert said one final factor played into his decision to come work in Jamestown: working alongside his father.
"I just thought that if I didn't take the opportunity to work with my dad, I might regret it," Robert said.
William said he's delivered approximately 1,000 babies throughout his career, something he said became more unique as the years went along.
"What's really been interesting for me about that I've starting to deliver the babies of babies that I delivered," William said. "There have been babies I've delivered where I delivered both the mom and dad of the baby as well.
"Practicing in a rural setting you get to watch the families grow and change and you sort of grow and change with the families," Williams said. "It's been delightful."
Robert said his father's passion for his job and his commitment to the Jamestown community has inspired him throughout his education and training to become a surgeon.
"Hopefully I have the opportunity to help as many people as my dad has. It's still the beginning of my career," Robert said. "My dad has done a lot of stuff. He's helped a lot of people."
Looking back on his 32-year career, William said he's been "honored" to provide medical services and serve the people in the Jamestown community. As for the two doctors favorite part of working together, both men agreed upon one thing: "the little stuff."
"Just walking to each other's desks and working together on a patient," Robert said. "Just being able to do the work together, that's the kind of thing that makes it the most special to me."
"Just knowing that it won't be too many years before I retire, but what's neat for me is knowing that Rob is a very talented and a very bright young surgeon and being able to see that ... I think he has the capability and the personality to provide a lot of ongoing care for people in the community," William said.