Two new healthcare providers at Heart of Kansas Family Health Care are using their advanced nursing skills to care for and treat patients with a wide variety of diseases and conditions.
Kathy Nokes and Deana Schwartzkopf recently began seeing patients at the Heart of Kansas Great Bend clinic, 1905 19th.
Brett Middleton, chief executive officer, said that “in addition to their exceptional medical skills, Kathy and Deana are gifted nurses who have the natural ability to relate one-on-one with their patients. All of us are fortunate to have them here at Heart of Kansas.”
Nokes and Schwartzkopf both said that the policies and philosophies at Heart of Kansas attracted them to the clinic.
They noted that it provides comprehensive care to everyone, regardless of ability to pay; it accepts those who are uninsured and underinsured, as well as those who do have insurance.
Heart of Kansas provides medical, dental, behavioral-health and substance-abuse services.
Kathy Nokes, certified family nurse practitioner, sees patients of all ages.
“Because we are a patient-centered clinic, we work hard to provide comprehensive care for everyone,” she said. “The goal is always to obtain the best possible health outcomes.”
One example of this is that same-day appointments are often available. “This decreases the amount of waiting time to see a provider for an acute condition,” Nokes explained.
The nurse practitioner also noted she can put herself in the patient’s place, which leads to a good rapport.
“I have been a Heart of Kansas patient for many years and have always appreciated the quality of care I received,” she explained. “In addition, I previously worked as a nurse at our Larned clinic and enjoy the culture and community spirit throughout Heart of Kansas.
“Patients and families can be assured our focus is providing high-quality care with a personal touch.”
Nokes earned an associate’s degree in nursing from Barton Community College in 2017 and a bachelor’s in nursing from Fort Hays State University the following year.
Last year, she earned her master’s in nursing, with a family nurse practitioner specialty, at the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Her clinicals were in pediatrics, family medicine, adult gerontology and psychiatric care.
Previous employers include Hays Medical Center, Allstaff Chartered and Great Bend Regional Hospital, where she worked in medical-surgical, obstetrics/gynecology and urgent care.
Nokes was born and raised in Southern California; she came here in 2003 for a visit and never left. She lives in rural Barton County on a farm with her husband and three children.
Nokes stays busy with her children’s sports schedules and is active in her church.
Deana Schwartzkopf, advanced practice registered nurse, became familiar with Heart of Kansas when she performed her clinicals there in 2015.
“I was impressed with the organizational structure and core values,” she recalled. “Heart of Kansas integrates social, psychological, medical and dental care to bring these core values to life.
“By combining these disciplines, we have a healthier, more productive community.”
Previously, the uninsured were overlooked, which led to “increased medical costs, loss of financial security and the destruction of family units,” Schwartzkopf commented. “Because of Heart of Kansas, patients have access to preventive and many other types of healthcare.
“The result is a significant increase in the health and welfare of children and adults, creating much healthier rural communities.”
Schwartzkopf earned her associate’s degree in nursing at Dodge City Community College in 1987 and bachelor’s in nursing at Fort Hays State University in 1992.
In 2015, she was awarded her master’s in nursing at Walden University in Minneapolis, Minn. She expects to graduate next January with a post-master’s psychiatric nurse practitioner certificate.
Previous employers include The Center for Counseling and Consultation in Great Bend; Ness County Hospital; The University of Kansas Health System’s St. Rose Medical Pavilion; Hays Medical Center; and Rooks County Health Center in Plainville.
Schwartzkopf also worked for a nursing agency in Kansas City, Mo., serving patients in several northeast Kansas medical facilities.
Originally from Ness City, Schwartzkopf lives in Great Bend.
“Since I am from western Kansas, I am always concerned about the lack of access to healthcare,” she said. “It has become an important part of my professional life to advocate for resources to provide optimal care in our rural setting.”
Schwartzkopf enjoys horseback riding, golfing, bowhunting, remodeling houses and spending time with her family.
Heart of Kansas Family Health Care is a Federally Qualified Health Center, which allows it to be a safety net for patients who are uninsured or underinsured. Its professional providers also welcome those with insurance at the Great Bend, Larned and Stafford locations. Heart of Kansas is open to everyone.