FIRTH — Karla Hess, FNP-C (Family Nurse Practitioner-Certified), has expanded women’s health care at the Firth Medical Center in Firth.

Hess has worked the past 18 months in Firth in family practice. Previously, she worked 21 years in women’s health in labor and delivery at Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello.

“At Portneuf, we worked with women from Fort Hall and women from the women’s prison,” she said.

“For a while, a large group of women from the Middle East lived in Pocatello,” Hess said. “I learned how to interact with them, understand their culture and respect the space they needed from a care giver. It’s important to have a good relationship with them.

“Different ethnic groups have different needs. It was a very good learning experience.”

Asked why she changed to family practice, Hess said, “After 21 years in labor and delivery, I felt I was ready to take on more responsibility. Family practice has been good for me.”

Family practice deals with birth, death, and all manner of sickness.

She added, “Women’s health is encouraging. We are able to give gynecological exams and pap smears here as well as breast exams. I’m qualified to give long-acting birth control, IUDs, STD testing as well as deal with female concerns.”

All immunizations, well-child exams, sports physicals, DOT, and Medicare wellness checks are also available. Lab work is done in the medical center.

“With my education and the experience I have, it’s convenient for people to come here,” she said. “It’s more private and we are good about getting people in to see us. Most (patients) are able to make an appointment for the same day.”

Hess earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Idaho State University, a bachelor’s in human development from Utah State University, and a master’s in nursing/family practice from Gonzaga University.

“Instructors at Gonzaga are awesome,” Hess said. “It was a very vigorous course. It took me three years — nine consecutive semesters — to complete it.

“I’m so glad I went into family practice. This is a good place to be.”

Katy Searle, Jake Barney, and Hess make up the staff at Firth Medical Center. All three are family nurse practitioners-certified. Barney also speaks Spanish.

“We keep up with continuous education, like advanced cardiac life support and the most recent practices and guidelines, to keep our licenses current and up to date,” Hess said.

She and her husband, Jason, have three children — a 21-year-old married daughter, Halle; 17-year-old son, Mac, a senior at Shelley High School; and 14-year-old daughter, Sydney, a freshman at Idaho Falls High School.

Hess is in the office on Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Office hours at the Firth Medical Center, 114 S. Main in Firth, are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed for lunch from 12 noon to 1 p.m.

The office can be contacted by calling (208) 346-6614.