Kim Baird, FNP-BC and & Nicole Hiller, FNP-C Care for Rural Woodbine
ST. MARYS, Georgia: December 20, 2021 – Small town residents know the joys and difficulties of rural life. There’s the joy of living in a close-knit community, far from big-city hassles. Then again, there’s the difficulty of finding medical care and the toll that takes on a person’s time, finances, and health.
Realizing how the lack of medical care negatively impacted her friends and family, Kim T. Baird, FNP-BC, stepped up to solve that problem in rural Woodbine, Georgia, where she has lived for nearly four decades. “There was no doctor in Woodbine. People knew I was a registered nurse and always asked me to examine them to see if they needed to see their doctor. I decided to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner, so I could open my own practice in Woodbine.”
Along with her practice partner, Nicole Hiller, FNP-C, Baird provides a spectrum of health care services in Woodbine at Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-Primary Care. Their office, with its warm, inviting brick building and striped awning, may look charming, but it houses a remarkable array of medical services. “Even though we are a rural office, we have access to the same resources as all the other Health System’s Primary Care practices, including the latest, greatest research through UptoDate®,” Baird says. UptoDate is a software that affords providers with evidence-based information to guide their clinical decisions.
As family nurse practitioners, Baird and Hiller care for patients of all ages, from newborns to grandparents. They provide preventative care and manage and treat chronic and acute illnesses. They order lab and radiology tests, administer trigger point and large joint injections to relieve pain, perform biopsies and remove some lesions. They also immunize children and adults to protect them from disease.
Between the two of them, Baird and Hiller draw on a lifetime of experience to diagnose and treat patients. Baird has been a registered nurse for 44 years and a nurse practitioner with the Health System for 27 of those years. Hiller has been with the Health System for eight years, and her previous experience with the Department of Public Health helps her care for patients with disproportionate rates of chronic disease.
“We are a small, intimate office; we take time to get to know our patients,” Hiller says. Baird concurs. “As a family practice, we get close to patients and their families. We learn the cycle of life and how to help patients and families through life and death.”
Investing time in relationships and building trust is especially important in a small town. “Access to care is difficult for a variety of reasons – transportation, mistrust and education level,” Baird says. Both nurses say that growing public mistrust of proven medical treatments makes their job harder, but they’re up for the challenge. The same tenacity that earned Baird three nursing awards and that Hiller used to complete her degree while working and raising a family, they apply to their work.
Baird finds inspiration in faith. “I am just here for His purpose.” Part of that purpose, she believes, is providing, “a high level of care to my rural population.” For Hiller’s part, educating a non-compliant patient is just another challenge to overcome, like running a half marathon, a goal she’s working toward, or skydiving, a goal she’s already achieved.
Not everyone chooses the road less traveled. Fortunately for the people of Woodbine, these two talented, caring nurses have, and the community is better for it.
Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-Primary Care is located at 308 Bedell Avenue in Woodbine. To schedule an appointment, please call 912-576-5999.
About Southeast Georgia Health System
Southeast Georgia Health System is a not-for-profit health system comprised of two acute care hospitals, two long term care facilities, two comprehensive Cancer Care Centers and multiple specialty care centers, including orthopedic and spine care, joint replacement, breast care, maternity, outpatient rehabilitation, sleep management and wound care. The Brunswick Campus Cancer Care Center is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and offers the only CyberKnife® M6 with MLC technology in Georgia. Additionally, the Southeast Georgia Physician Associates medical group includes more than 140 providers working in 20 different medical specialties at more than 50 locations. The Health System is part of Coastal Community Health, a regional affiliation between Baptist Health and Southeast Georgia Health System forming a highly integrated hospital network focused on significant initiatives designed to enhance the quality and value of care provided to our contiguous communities. For more information, visit sghs.org.