If you have driven through Sterling lately you might have noticed activity in the building next to Alaska Wedding Brokers on the highway. I was very excited when the sign went up reading "Sterling Clinic." Health care services will be available in Sterling!
Cindy Nimmo is the owner, nurse practitioner, and self-professed chief cook and bottle washer of the new clinic.
"We are going to be a small family oriented office, so I will be doing a lot of multi-tasking. I mean, how many doctors do you know that also empty their own trash cans?" she said, laughing.
Cindy has been a nurse for 26 years and a nurse practitioner for just more than five years. She and her husband, Steve, grew up in the same small town in Arkansas.
Even though Sterling is a long way from Arkansas, she sees many similarities between the two communities.
"We love living in a small town. People seem very supportive," she said.
Since moving to Alaska more than 10 years ago, Cindy has worked in a variety of health care situations. She worked in Anchorage for Alaska Cares and for several Native Associations flying to villages to deliver health care services.
"I got kind of tired of being away from home all the time, being away from my family and my pets. I looked around and thought, 'Hey, Sterling needs health care services as much as people in the bush do,'" she said.
Cindy approached Deb Debnam, who owns the building.
"Deb was so supportive. She said 'Let's find a way to make it happen' and we did," Cindy said.
Cindy also received a lot of help and support from the Kenai Peninsula Small Business Association.
The building is almost ready for the grand opening. All that needs to be finished are a few final touches to the office and computer systems and Cindy hopes to be open by the beginning of the year.
I was not very familiar with what a nurse practitioner does. Cindy explained her schooling allows her to offer a wide variety of health care services, similar to what you would find at a family practice doctor's office.
"I am also interested in the prevention of disease. I hope to offer programs in weight loss and smoking cessation," she said.
For now the clinic will employ one other person, a clinic manager that will help with billing.
Cindy and Steve like to walk and hike. Steve also is a mountain climber and has participated in the Mount Marathon race.
"I love to be outdoors, but I guess I am more of a flat-lander," she said with a laugh. "I don't like my hiking to be too steep."
Cindy and Steve are happy to be living in Sterling.
"We love living in the costal area, and so close to the Kenai River. How could you not love living is such a beautiful place?" she said.
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