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Robert W Gneiting, FNP/CNM, joins staff at Tribal Health

By B.L. Azure

Family Nurse Practitioner Robert Gneiting, FNP/CNM recently joined the medical provider staff at the St. Ignatius THHS Clinic and is now scheduling patients. (B.L. Azure photo) Family Nurse Practitioner Robert Gneiting, FNP/CNM recently joined the medical provider staff at the St. Ignatius THHS Clinic and is now scheduling patients. (B.L. Azure photo)

ST. IGNATIUS — The Tribal Health and Human Services St. Ignatius Clinic now has a Family Nurse Practitioner on board with the recent hiring of Robert W. Gneiting, who is also a Certified Nurse Midwife. The Utah native and U.S. Navy veteran is a welcome addition to the medical staff and will help increase the patient access to quality health care at the clinic.

“I am very happy to have such a very caring person like Robert on board,” said Dr. Kevin Gray, THHS Southern Division Medical Director. “He brings great credentials and experience to the table. We are very fortunate to have a Family Nurse Practitioner with the experience that Robert has. We’re putting him to work right away. He is now taking appointments.”

Grey said the extra hand on the stethoscope would improve patient access to primary caregivers at the Tribal Health St. Ignatius Clinic.

“It helps a lot to have another person here,” Grey said, adding that he has been without a FNP for approximately 18 months. “The biggest complaint we get is patient access. Robert will improve that a lot. We will be able to take care of more patients, period.”

Gneiting is also happy and pleased to be on board at Tribal Health. He comes to Tribal Health after a stint at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Polson. He moved to Mission Valley near the end of 2013 to work at St. Joseph’s after closing his medical practice in Utah.

He planned to end his medical career at St. Joseph’s but had a change of heart based upon past and recent experience with tribal people in the United States and native Spanish-speaking people of Puerto Rico.

“I have this desire to better serve the tribal people. That increased after meeting so many wonderful tribal people here after moving to the Mission Valley,” Gneiting said. “That sparked my desire to seek employment as a primary care provider at the St. Ignatius Tribal Health Clinic.”

As a youth, Gneiting’s parents were foster parents to two Navajo brothers, and his wife, Sonya Garcia, a Certified Nurse Assistant, is of Spanish heritage. The couple met at Brigham Young University and married in 1991 and they have five children. That backdrop as well as growing up in Utah that included interaction with the relatively large American Indian population there exposed him to cultures and traditions he felt comfortable with.

Gneiting graduated from Mountain View High School in Orem, Utah in 1987. Following graduation he went on a two-year Spanish speaking Mormon mission in Puerto Rico. When he completed his mission he returned to Utah and enrolled in Brigham Young University to pursue a nursing degree where he graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing in 1993.

Upon graduation Gneiting became a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy Nurse’s Corp. While serving America he worked in several areas as a staff and charge nurse, including: Maternal Child, General Surgery, Labor and Delivery and nursing in San Diego and Yokosuka, Japan.

In February 1998, Gneiting was promoted to Division Officer of the Yokosuka OB/GYN Clinic where he served until leaving active duty with an Honorable Discharge in May 1999, in order to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Utah. While there he also enrolled in the Certified Nurse Midwifery and Family Nurse Practitioner programs and received his Master’s of Science in Nursing in 2001.

In May 2002, Gneiting completed the Family Nurse Practitioner Program with a post-Master’s certificate. He then did his Family Practitioner residency at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Gneiting eventually decided to open the Seraphine Clinic, LLC, in February 2003, to provide low-cost general medical services to the medically uninsured. He later opened a sister clinic, Seraphine Med Taylorville, LLC, to provide general medical services to people with medical insurance.

Gneiting is fluent in Spanish and enjoys hiking, reading, movies, fishing and traveling.

“When I went into the medical practice I had a lot of Spanish speaking patients,” he said. “That interaction and my mission in Puerto Rico helped me learn the Spanish language really well. It helped me connect with the people I served, the people I really wanted to help get good health care.”

Gneiting said it was his two-year Mormon mission that solidified his desire to serve less fortunate — by Western standards — people.

“I saw a different side of life, that was both positive and the negative,” he said. “At times I felt like what it felt like to be ostracized by people who see others as different in a negative light. I began to understand more how they felt living as a marginalized people. That helped me learn to love people, all people on earth. My spiritual belief that God loves and believes in everyone inspired my overwhelming love and concern for everyone regardless of who they are and where they come from. Being a humble person and open to God’s spirit makes me a better health care provider.”

THHS clinics phone numbers – Arlee: 726-3224; St. Ignatius: 745-3525; Ronan: 676-8778; Polson: 883-5541; and Elmo: 849-5798. In Hot Springs: Debbie King at 741-3266.

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