Samantha S. Kunz, FNP-C, has joined the bustling Family Medicine Division of Northern Regional Hospital, where she will diagnose and treat adult and pediatric patients with a wide-range of clinical conditions that require her clinical expertise.
A native of Mount Airy, 32-year-old Kunz feels that her new role at Northern – as a fully certified Family Nurse Practitioner – is the culmination of what she’s always meant to do professionally … and where she’s always meant to be. “I spent eight years as a nurse in Northern’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and loved every minute of dealing with my patients and their families,” she said. “But I also realized that many ICU patients are readmissions, so I became determined to advance my studies so I could be at the front-end of the patient-care spectrum in order to help keep patients out of hospitals and ICUs.”
Accordingly, one of Kunz’s patient-care goals is to educate her patients about how they can minimize or manage ongoing chronic conditions (like diabetes and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD); and also advise them about the many organizational and online resources available to them. “My treatment focus is to build a trusting and compassionate relationship with patients and their families – so they know I will do my best to help keep them as healthy as possible and out of the hospital,” she explained. “I also share with my patients the most up-to-date treatments – since medicines and therapies are always changing.”
“We are delighted to welcome Samantha Kunz to our rapidly growing primary-care practice,” said Richard Herber, MD, in announcing her appointment. “Samantha brings to our team the right combination of demonstrated clinical experience, advanced nursing knowledge, and a compassion and commitment to patients that is the hallmark of quality care at Northern Family Medicine,” added Dr. Herber.
After earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Lenoir-Rhyne University in 2014, Kunz launched her clinical career in the 10-bed Intensive Care Unit of Northern Regional Hospital. It was there that the newly graduated nurse provided comprehensive care to clinically unstable patients with both acute and chronic illnesses. She reflects positively on the closeness that frequently develops between ICU patients and their nurses. “Such relationships were magnified during the height of the COVID pandemic, when visitors were not allowed into hospitals,” she explains. “At that time, we nurses were our patients’ families for months at a time. And for many of our elderly patients, we used our personal phones to help them Facetime with their families at home.”
Kunz also served as Charge Nurse for the ICU on an as-needed basis; and also functioned as Nurse Preceptor, which required her to teach and train new staff and nursing students who arrived on the unit. “I very much enjoyed that part of my job because I got to focus on the educational side of things,” she said.
It was also during her tenure in Northern Regional Hospital’s ICU that Kunz’s respect and admiration for her employer grew. “While I knew I wanted to advance professionally, I also knew I wanted to remain at Northern,” she said. “The Hospital’s leadership team has always treated nurses very well and been very respectful of our needs and concerns. When I mentioned I wanted to continue my studies, they were very positive and encouraging, especially my manager Patty Creed Manager of Critical Care Services.”
In August 2022, Kunz graduated from Western Carolina University’s well-regarded Master of Science, Family Nurse Practitioner Program – after having successfully completed classroom coursework and multiple clinical rotations within several key specialties, including cardiology, family medicine, geriatrics, OB/GYN, and women’s health, and urgent care.
Currently, Kunz holds certifications in Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and Advanced Stroke Life Support. She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
While an undergraduate at Lenoir-Rhyne, Kunz met her husband, Matt, who now works as a Mortgage Loan Officer at a local credit union. “We’ve been together for 13 years, and married for seven of those,” she said. The young couple has two beautiful daughters — four-year-old Maggie and two-year-old Hallie — and their family has been rounded-out with two small, rambunctious dachshunds.
“We enjoy spending time together, being outside; and taking the girls to events or activities where they can play,” says Kunz.
A proud daughter of Monty and Dawn Simpson, Kunz enjoys doing things with family. Indeed, she and her mother and sister share a common bond: baking and decorating cookies! “We get together and my mom does the baking and my sister and I do the decorating – it’s very intricate!”
To schedule an appointment with Samantha Kunz, FNP-C, call Northern Family Medicine at 336-786-4133 or visit Northern Family Medicine online at choosenorthern.org/ family-medicine.