Wanda “Sue” Beebe, APRN, is one of the newest APRNs at Advanced Mobile Healthcare, but she has the most experience out of the group. Even though she has pretty much seen it all, when you ask her about her experiences, she’s fairly humble about it. Sue didn’t start out as a nurse, though. Her original degree was in psychology, obtained when she was living on the East coast. I asked her why she decided to get a degree in nursing, which eventually led to becoming a Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. “I hated it,” she said while laughing. “We moved to Arga, Kansas with only 200 people living there, and the nearest place was Phillipsburg. There was absolutely no need for a psychologist. So, I could either go on – and I didn’t know how I could do that, since there was nowhere nearby – or look for something else. I took a job as a nurses aide, and there was no training involved. I lasted about two days before I was fired, because I had no idea what I was doing. I went to a hospital, and took a job as a nurses aide there, which gave me 8 weeks of on the job training. I decided I kinda liked this healthcare thing – but I didn’t like being a nurses aide. So, I went to Norton, which is about 40 miles away, and became an LPN.”
Sue has had a very long career as an APRN before finally joining the Advanced Mobile Healthcare Team nine months ago. She’s worked in Kansas, South Dakota, and Florida, and in small practices, hospitals, and even the prison system. Reading her resume is like a checklist of all the possible things one could ever do as an APRN and more. Just to name a few: pain management, X-Ray, lab, ambulance director, CPR instructor, assistant coroner, utilization chairperson, quality management, ER, acute and chronic care, pediatrics, family practice, nursing home rounds, geriatrics, family planning, and more. It’s not that she moved from job to job frequently: it was what was required of her as an APRN serving in rural environments.
As one might imagine, having spent so much time in the system, Sue has seen the naming of APRN’s change over the years. Not knowing all the possible terms, I asked her if a Primary Care Nurse Practitioner was the same thing as an APRN. “Same thing. Nurse practitioners have struggled with the letters. When I first became a nurse practitioner, you had to be a CNP – Certified Nurse Practitioner. Then they got rid of that, and it became NP-C – Nurse Practitioner Certified. And then they went to the ARNP – Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner. Now, we’re Advanced Practice Registered Nurse.”
But, she’s also watched the role of APRN’s change over those years. “Thirty years ago, and before, there were very few doctors in country areas. In order to get to a doctor or a hospital, people had to drive a hundred miles in some cases. So, that was one of the things that nurse practitioners were for – to fill that void. When I became a nurse practitioner, that was what I did. The primary purpose of Nurse Practitioners to be the sole provider in rural communities was an excellent plan, and it worked well. Unfortunately, government, the closing of rural hospitals and clinics, and insurance reimbursements has forced Nurse Practitioners to evolve. I don’t know where the transition actually happened, but they want to be on the cutting edge of things. I’m old school, and I liked working in rural areas. I liked walking into a restaurant and everyone knowing I took care of them. I liked – and call it ego if you want – being the one who read the chest X-Rays, and the one who told people I’m going to take care of you from the time you walk in the door or into the hospital.”
Based on that original role of APRN’s, Sue had some advice for future APRN’s: “Go do what we were designed to do. Go practice in underserved areas. There are plenty of underserved areas in the United States. It’s changed. All the dynamics has changed. The torch has been passed on to the younger people, to do what they feel needs to be done. It’s political, it’s scrappy. I’m a supporter of autonomy, particularly in rural areas. There’s nothing wrong with being autonomous in a big city, though. I just liked the times back when I was in the rural area, doing what needed to be done.”
This article is for educational purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. Healthcare is an individualized process, and reading an article online should not be your source for healthcare advice - instead, it's intended to help you better understand the process or healthcare, inform about a specific disease, or present the potential for lifestyle changes that may occur with a disease or disorder. Do no rely on online articles for healthcare - instead, consult your healthcare provider if you feel you may be suffering from symptoms presented in this article, or other symptoms not listed here.