North Carolina native Elizabeth (“Beth”) Casstevens, FNP-C, has joined the clinical team of Northern Urgent Care, a fully-staffed healthcare facility for patients with non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries. As a Family Nurse Practitioner, Casstevens will diagnose and treat adults and children for a full spectrum of non-emergency conditions – from sinusitis and pneumonia to minor lacerations and fractures.
Being part of the Northern Regional Hospital family is not new for 36-year-old Casstevens – who has provided nursing care in the hospital’s Emergency Department for the past 10 years. Some of her other work experiences include positions with Surry Medical Extended Care (in an urgent-care setting) and Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital.
Cassteven’s interest in healthcare began in her childhood – as she observed a variety of healthcare specialists provide care to members of her immediate family. “I watched my grandfather struggle with breathing problems for years – until he eventually passed away from a heart attack when I was 11 years old,” she said.
Many years later, her father suffered a massive heart attack – and, due to complications, remained hospitalized for three months. “He was given less than a 10% chance of living,” she recalled. “He went from lying on his back and not communicating at all to being able to do everything he wants now – walking, talking, driving, hunting, and all that.”
“His recovery was beyond a miracle from God,” she added, “and I knew I wanted to help people – just like the doctors, nurses, and other specialists who had helped my Dad.”
Her more narrowly focused interest in pursuing nursing was ignited while she was a student at Surry Central High School and joined Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA), a club devoted to pupils interested in careers in healthcare. At that time, Wendy Moser, RN, a HOSA advisor and teacher of allied-health courses, encouraged the teenager to consider nursing as her chosen profession. “She had a big influence on me,” recalled Casstevens, “and always encouraged and supported my decision to become a nurse.”
Casstevens’ 11 year educational journey to become a Family Nurse Practitioner began in 2007, when she enrolled in Surry Community College and earned her Licensed Practical Nursing Diploma. That achievement was followed in steady succession by three more educational milestones: an Associate’s Degree in Nursing from Forsyth Technical Community College in 2009; a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Winston-Salem State University in 2012; and, finally, three years ago, a Master of Science in Nursing degree with a Family Nurse Practitioner concentration from South University.
While providing comprehensive nursing care to patients of all ages for the past 13 years, Casstevens discovered her preference for the hustle-and-bustle of emergency and urgent-care settings. “Either you like the fast-paced nature of those clinical environments or you don’t,” she said. “I like to stay busy and I function well under pressure,” she said. “A lot of times, you may be the first healthcare provider that patient or family ever sees, so what you do and say can make a big impact on their lives.”
“My approach to care is to acknowledge each patient as a whole – so I take the time to hear them out so I don’t miss things that are important to them,” she explained. “I strive to provide the most effective and compassionate care possible, while educating patients and their families about treatment options.”
At Northern Urgent Care, Casstevens is excited about the diagnostic and therapeutic challenges that come with seeing a multitude of patients with a wide assortment of clinical problems. Her ability to diagnose patients’ problems is enhanced by the facility’s on-site diagnostic capabilities – including X-ray equipment and onsite laboratory.
Casstevens’ in-depth nursing knowledge and positive interactions with patients and colleagues have earned her two special nursing awards: a Nursing Excellence Award while at Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital; and a highly-prized Nurse of the Year Award, in 2018, from her Emergency Department colleagues at Northern Regional Hospital.
She is a member of multiple professional organizations and societies, including the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the American Nurses Association, and the Emergency Nurse Association.
In addition to doing volunteer work with the American Red Cross and several disaster-relief efforts, Casstevens has put her nursing skills to good practice during a medical mission to Belize – where she helped other nurses and medical professionals attend to the healthcare needs of local villagers.
“We stayed in a compound of little huts with a larger dining house and bath house,” she said. “There was also a clinic, which we ran from Monday through Friday, to treat people for multiple ailments – from check-ups for the kids to chronic conditions for some of the adults.”
When not working or volunteering, Casstevens enjoys participating in outdoor activities with her husband Andrew, a paramedic; their two adopted children (3-year-old Camden, and Kylie, 20-months); and three active Labrador Retrievers (Drake, Ellie and Gracie). She is also putting the finishing touches on a new house she and her husband built on her grandparents’ farm.
Northern Urgent Care is open seven days a week / 365 days a year; and can be reached by phone at 336-719-7200, online at www.northernurgentcare.com, or by visiting the clinic, located at 119 Welch Road, Suite A, in Mount Airy.