It was something she always wanted to do since she was a little girl: be a doctor and care for women. She didn’t have any family members who were doctors, only an aunt who was a nurse. But today, Dr. Kimberly Biss, 45, has her own obstetrics and gynecology practice called New Beginnings Obstetrics and Gynecology in St. Petersburg.
And Biss isn’t only a doctor – she’s also a wife and a mother. She’s been married to her husband, Jerry, for almost 20 years. She has two children – Zachary, 15, who is in 10th grade and KaLeigh, 13, in eighth grade.
It hasn’t been easy being a working mom. Biss’ days are busy: she sees about 30 patients a day and delivers between 20 to 25 babies a month. She has missed out on some things with her kids, but said she loves what she does and has been able to provide for her family.
“I did miss my kids’ first words and first steps because of work, but I made a decision to do what I do,” said Biss.
Her and her husband decided they wanted to have one of them home with the kids, so her husband is a stay-at-home dad.
Biss grew up in New Jersey, raised by a single parent. She worked hard and always got good grades throughout school. She said she was the kid who at Christmas was excited to get science books for presents.
Her medical schooling started at an all women’s school, Mount Holyoke College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in biology. She went on to earn her medical degree from Tufts University in Boston. She did an internship in general surgery at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. Biss then completed an OB/GYN residency at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg. In 1998, she started at a private practice and in 2007 she branched off with her own practice.
Because her practice is small, Biss not only works Monday through Friday, but also is on call every other night or every third night.
“I’m not home a lot,” said Biss.
On a typical day, Biss gets up around 5:30 a.m. and is the first one at her office at around 7:30 a.m. If she isn’t in surgery, she will catch up on paperwork and look at charts. Between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., she sees patients. She does have a two-hour lunch, but most of the time, she spends it doing scheduled cesarean sections or other procedures.
In her office, there is one other doctor and a nurse practitioner along with a midwife. Biss has a staff of 12, including her and the other practitioners. Collectively, they will see about 90 patients a day.
One day a week, Biss will perform major surgeries, including robotic hysterectomies. All her procedures and deliveries happen at Bayfront Medical Center.
If Biss isn’t delivering a baby or seeing to an unexpected emergency, she will arrive home around 6:30 p.m.
She said her kids know they never want to be in the medical field because of the long hours their mom puts in, but they think it is neat that their mom is a doctor and delivers babies.
Even though Biss does work a lot, the time she is off she spends with her family. She and her husband often watch their son Zack, an aspiring country music singer, as he performs at local restaurants throughout Tampa Bay.
“He wants to be a country music star,” said Biss. “His dad is his agent.”
You also might find the family at KaLeigh’s swim meets, or at hockey games watching the Lightning play, as they are season ticket holders.
“We spend a lot of time with the kids,” Biss said.
The family recently returned from an Alaskan cruise.
“Usually two times a year we will take family vacations,” said Biss. “We are always together. It will be tough when they go to college.”
Biss said her most memorable moment so far has been helping deliver Florida’s first sextuplets in September 2007.
“It was amazing,” said Biss. “Each baby had its own team of doctors.”
Most of the time, her job is a happy experience, but there have been some sad days, Biss said. Though the good days outweigh the bad, she said it is hard for her to encourage anyone to go into her profession.
“I love what I do and love taking care of my patients, but all the other headaches I don’t love,” says Biss.
She said that beyond the medical care of a patient, you now have to know about business and law and deal with administrative aspects.
“There is so much you have to document and so much data entry today. I sometimes feel I am not doing what I set out to do: being a physician and taking care of patients,” she said.
Despite those frustrations, Biss is living her dream. Taking care of patients is something she takes pride in and looks forward to each day, she said.