Family nurse practitioner Jess Furka is a new face at the Grant County Health Department in John Day.

She settled in a few weeks ago and said she’s enjoying the small community, which is a big change from her urban background.

Her most recent experience as a family nurse practitioner includes four years at the Children’s Hospital Pittsburgh of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and, previously, two years at a walk-in clinic. She also worked as a nurse for four years at the children’s hospital.

She replaces Karen Triplett, who retired in June and will return in the fall to work at the school-based health clinic at Grant Union Junior-Senior High School.

Furka and her fiance, Nate Wilson, made the cross-country trek to John Day in June.

Before moving, Furka said she hadn’t been any farther west than Kansas.

“So far, I really like it,” she said. “All the people I’ve met have been very friendly, and I like the small-town feel.”

Furka said she and her fiance enjoy hiking, biking and kayaking. Their excursions have included a hike through the Painted Hills.

Wilson works remotely from home as an international integrator for SAP Ariba, a software and information technology services company.

Furka said she enjoys helping patients of all ages, covering everything from well-child exams to women’s health to general medicine.

“I like meeting new people and learning new things,” she said. “It’s nice to see different aspects of medicine. I’ve seen little kids all the way up through elderly. It challenges me, and I like challenges.”

She added she especially likes to assist patients with depression and anxiety issues.

“I think it’s not talked about enough,” she said.

Health department manager Jessica Winegar said she’s heard positive feedback from patients about the new family nurse practitioner.

“She’s a wonderful addition to the health clinic,” Winegar said. “She has a calmness and patience, with energy and youth to meet the needs of our community.”

Nurse Nancy Jimenez said Furka is thorough, efficient and takes the time to listen to patients.

“The patients love her,” office support specialist Joanne Moles added, “and she’s wonderful to work with.”

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