From answering phones to providing care: Knight knows nursing
May 15, 2009
Snow Creek Medical Center near the Park City Market has long been known for its urgent-care services. It would also like to build a reputation as a great place to see specialists. One such specialist excited to start a full-time practice at the center is Jennifer Knight, a certified family nurse practitioner.
After spending any time with Knight it’s easy to see she loves what she does.
"She’s just very pleasant. She treats you more like a friend than a patient," said client Courtney Opdyke. "Every time I go to her she remembers my family history, my kids, and she asks about them and follows up about them. She’s like the great small-town doctor in old-fashioned movies she’s too good to be true."
Before moving to Park City with her soon-to-be husband a dozen years ago, Knight earned a degree in food science. But she didn’t want to spend her days with carrots, Knight said, she wanted to be with people. Recognizing that nursing would be a career that could incorporate her love for science with her love of people, she looked for an entry-level job.
That just happened to be front-desk receptionist at Snow Creek Medical Center about a decade ago. While working at the center she went back to school at the University of Utah and as she progressed from LPN to RN to nurse practitioner, the center put her to work.
More recently, people in Park City know her from the People’s Health Clinic where she was a full-time practitioner until March. She still volunteers there, but Knight wanted to start a private family practice this year. Snow Creek Medical Center had just lost the family-practice specialists it had leased space to and was looking to replace them. It was a perfect fit.
Recommended Stories For You
Clinical administrator Shanae Thornton said the decision was easy because they knew Knight so well.
"We’d known Jennifer for years and knew she’d fit perfectly with patients and staff here," she said.
One reason is Knight understands how they work. When patients call Snow Creek they get a person right away. There’s no dial-an-option. The center strives to make each patient feel they’re an individual and not a number, Thornton said.
"I view this as an intimate location, we’re not a conglomerate," Knight said.
Because she started at the front desk and worked her way up the nursing chain to being a fully-licensed care giver, Knight said she’s able to empathize with the experience of patients during every second of their time at the clinic. If the support staff is overwhelmed, Knight said she’s comfortable going into the lobby, finding her patients, checking them in and getting them to the examination rooms herself.
Her love of people and science is how she got into family medicine. Some nurses pick a specialty, like oncology or pediatrics. Knight said she loves every part of the body, every aspect of health care and every type of patient. A family nurse practitioner sees it all, she said.
If people are confused as to what a nurse practitioner is, Knight explains it as being identical to a family physician in nearly every way, but the two professions are licensed differently. Unlike a physician who can act alone, she must work in conjunction with a physician, but performs all of the same services.
Opdyke’s comparison to a small-town doctor is not far off. Increasingly, nurse practitioners are the primary care givers in rural communities.
At Snow Creek Medical Center, Thornton explained, the general physicians are in and out. Knight is able to provide the same level of care with flexible hours and occasional weekends.
The center’s partnership with multiple physicians in a variety of specialties makes working in Park City very exciting, Knight said.
"What other ski town has this access to health care? With this knowledge and these providers?" she said. "No other ski town has a children’s hospital and a university hospital this close. It’s a mecca of knowledge where you can ski and bike as well."
In addition to Knight’s services, the center is now offering exercise stress tests by cardiologist Marcus Brann, colonoscopies by John Griffin, the services of Eric and Karen Heiden, neurologist Mohammad Shoari and podiatrist Douglas Lister. OBGYN James Roth is still at the center.
Snow Creek Medical Center
Jennifer Knight, FNP-C
1600 Snow Creek Drive