CAREERS IN NURSING
HOMETOWN GIRL: APRN STAYS CLOSE, GOES FAR
by Bobby Anderson – Writer/Photographer
Amanda Kuehner’s dad used to joke that he never knew anyone who could put as many miles on a car without ever leaving town as his daughter.
Growing up in Seminole, Kuehner and her friends would drive back and forth over Boren Boulevard bouncing from house to house.
She never figured that decades later she would become one of the town’s two advanced practice nurses, taking care of that same community that helped her grow into the woman, wife and mother she is today.
Today, Kuehner serves as a family nurse practitioner at AllianceHealth Seminole.
It’s a dream come true.
“It was really, really awesome because I didn’t want to move,” Kuehner said. “The timing was really perfect.”
One of the town’s two nurse practitioners moved out of state the day after she graduated NP school.
After working 10 years at St. Anthony Shawnee she was finally ready to come home, moving into her new role with Dr. Michelle Barlow this past year.
“Very small town,” Kuehner said of growing up in a town of less than 7,000 residents. “There wasn’t a whole bunch to do. You bounce from one house to the next. There’s no secrets in Seminole and you didn’t get away with much so we were pretty much good kids because you didn’t have a choice.”
Kuehner’s family moved back to her mother’s birthplace in 1991.
Her mother earned a speech pathology degree and moved the family back to work for the Seminole County Co-op, traveling to schools in Seminole, Strother, New Lima and other surrounding towns helping children.
Kuehner would grow up there, eventually graduating from Seminole High in 2002.
No one in Kuehner’s family had a medical background. Her dad drove a truck. Her sister grew up to be a human resources director.
It was one day in home economics class that a video spurred Kuehner’s interest.
“We watched a movie about a baby that had a tumor in its lung and they did the surgery in utero,” Kuehner said. “I knew I had to do something like that.”
“Something like that” changed into nursing after a semester at Oklahoma State University.
“I decided I wanted a different hands-on version of medical,” she said. “After I became an RN and was there for a long time I wanted that advanced role.”
She went to Seminole State Junior College for her nursing degree. Her BSN came via an online program and her NP was through a distance-learning offering at Indiana State University.
She graduated in 2015.
Seminole was also where Kuehner met her husband, a life-long Seminole resident.
The couple now lives out in the countryside, renting a place from an uncle until they decide whether to build a home.
She has a third-grader and one in Head Start.
Kuehner’s mother-in-law lives across the road.
Now, Kuehner makes it to the office by 9 a.m. each day after she drops her kids off to school.
From there she’s off and running.
“We have all walks of life,” she says. “Everybody comes from a different background. The part I was really excited about taking on this job was that I would get to see a lot of people I know. I love that because I know I’m taking care of the people who are helping raise my family – teachers, friends. That gives me a great peace of mind.
“I’m trying to make an impact on this town.”
Kuehner understands she fills a vital role in her community.
She’s the main provider for a certain segment of Seminole’s population.
But with AllianceHealth she enjoys the access to specialists who come to town several days a week.
“We do have a lot of patients that we really have to figure out ways to get their treatments,” she said. “It might not be easy to drive to Oklahoma City to see a specialist or they don’t have the funds to pick up their prescriptions they need.
“We have to be creative.”
Working in her new role has only reaffirmed what Kuehner thought she would be getting out of her profession. And doing it so close to home has made it even better.
“I do think that’s why people like me have done well staying close to home because there is that trust and connection,” Kuehner says. “Everybody deserves to be taken care of.”