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New provider joins clinic in Hot Springs

Thursday, December 5, 2013

by Ed Moreth, Sanders County Ledger

Kimberly Schwittay is the newest member of Clark Fork Valley Hospital's Hot Springs Family Medicine.

The family nurse practitioner is one of five medical providers at the recently remodeled clinic building, located in the heart of Hot Springs, servicing residents of the town and surrounding areas. Schwittay has 17 years of medical experience and received a master's degree in nursing at Seattle Pacific University in June.

She received her B.S. in nursing from the University of Phoenix in 2005 and an associate degree in nursing from Yakima Valley Community College in 1996. She also has a B.A. degree in English from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash. She passed her medical boards for family nurse practitioner and became certified in July.

Her medical career has included working at a long term care facility, a cardiology clinic, and at Providence Hospitals in Yakima and Everett, and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Most of her hospital experience has been in critical care, said Schwittay.

Schwittay, who grew up in the Yakima, Wash., area, worked in the Critical Care Unit at Providence Everett Medical Center for nearly 10 years before moving to Hot Springs in early November. She and her husband have three sons, including one attending Hot Springs High School. One of her two college sons is following in her footsteps in the nursing field.

"I love the area and the friendly, laid back vibe of Hot Springs," said Schwittay. She has worked primarily in big city settings, but said she "always saw herself working in a smaller community and rural setting." Her husband grew up in Bigfork. His mother now lives in Hot Springs.

"I like that this is the community clinic and they can get their care right here in their own community," said Schwittay. She added that she likes "everything" about the Hot Springs clinic, including the warmth of the community people.

One of Schwittay's goals at Hot Springs is getting to know her patients and have a better understanding of their entire environment, according to Tonya Revier, CFVH Community Relations coordinator. "If she knows where they are from, what their lifestyle is and essentially what they live like day-to-day, she hopes she can care for them better," said Revier, who was told by Schwittay that she felt welcomed to the community even before she arrived.

Schwittay initially considered going into the medical field as a physician, but changed her mind when she talked with a family friend about nursing. She said that a career in nursing would allow her to have more balance in her life and that the opportunity to advance would come at a later point. She also liked the ideology of nursing and has a passion for women's health. She said the medical career is challenging and has room to grow. "I like the gray area. Nothing is cut and dry in the medical field," she said. "I love connecting with people and helping them to be the healthiest they can be."

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