Health center adds nurse practitioner

<I>TIMM COLLINS photo</I><BR>Nurse Practitioner Terri Miller joins the Family Health Center in Klipsan.

KLIPSAN - The Peninsula recently welcomed a new medical team member. Nurse Practitioner Terri Miller brings more than 20 years of medical experience to the Family Health Center.

The recent passing of Marcia Kleypas left more than an empty space in the lives of her patients, family and friends; it left a need for a nurse practitioner, that special medical professional who falls somewhere between doctor and nurse.

Terri Miller had been working in Longview as a NP for several years, and on occasion, she would fill in at the Family Health Center. When she was contacted about a full-time position, Miller only had to consider it for a short time.

"The Peninsula is very much like Crescent City [Calif.] where I worked as a nurse for 21 years," she said. "I have missed living in a smaller community on the coast."

So what is the difference between a nurse and a nurse practitioner anyway? Miller said her emphasis is on preventative medicine.

"We certainly don't have the knowledge base of a doctor. It is like having a master's degree in medicine rather than a doctorate," she said.

She explained that nurses have a broad base of knowledge, but they do not make diagnoses. Instead, they follow the orders of a doctor. Nurse practitioners focus on educating patients on what they can do to stay healthy as well as diagnosing and treating minor ailments.

"If a patient has a serious illness, they will be directed to a specialist," said Miller. "My focus is family practice, so I see all ages and have kind of a general approach to health."

Husband Marc is a fisheries biologist who is working on salmon net pens at the Deep River Hatchery. Miller said her husband does most of his work from home, so the move to the Peninsula will not affect his commute.

Miller also has a degree in music education and plays the flute and oboe. She has played with the Pacific Crest Wind Symphony in Portland as a substitute. Miller said she decided long ago that she did not want to make a living as a musician.

"I didn't want music to become a job," she said. "I wanted to keep music as a hobby. There is too much pressure if you try to survive as a professional in music. I still play, but it is for my own enjoyment."

Miller said she will have to wait for the sale of her home in Longview before she can completely move, but she and her husband are making do in the meantime.

"We are on our way, and we are very excited," she said. "We are looking forward to summer on the coast."

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