Fluvanna Faces: Amy Beyer

By Harvey J. Sorum

Please tell us about yourself prior to starting the Fluvanna Health Clinic.

I graduated from Fluvanna High School many years ago and went to college at Liberty University. At Liberty I received my undergraduate degree as a registered nurse and went to work for the University of Virginia.  I worked at UVA in hematology oncology for several years and then transitioned into the outpatient world of dialysis. While working as a nurse I continued my studies at James Madison University where I obtained my Masters of Science in nursing and became a family nurse practitioner. 

What is the difference between a nurse practitioner and a registered nurse?

A nurse practitioner (NP) is an experienced nurse that returned to school to continue their studies to include diagnosis, treatment, and health prevention in their repertoire. Nurse practitioners are also given a national certification exam upon entering the profession. Each year Americans utilize nurse practitioner services over 1.06 billion times. This number is growing year after year. Part of the reason for this is the decrease of physicians entering the primary care setting. Most nurse practitioners have at least seven years of formalized education and many more years of practical hands-on care experience.

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners  puts it like this: “As clinicians that blend clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions with an added emphasis on disease prevention and health management, NPs bring a comprehensive perspective and personal touch to health care.” 

Why did you decide to open the Fluvanna Health Clinic?

Over my nurse practitioner career, I have worked in several venues including a convenient care clinic, post-acute rehabs, nursing homes, and hospice. Looking back at my health care experience I always find more joy in relational care where I get to know my patients and their families. For many years I drove outside Fluvanna to serve patient populations in surrounding counties. Many times I had people in the community ask if they could come to my house for a sick visit or sports physical. I would always decline because I didn’t have the appropriate facility to do these things well. During this time of driving to Charlottesville and Richmond to care for patients, I felt a strong desire to serve my own community.

In 2018 my family moved out of Lake Monticello and bought our current home on Rt. 53 with a large building behind it. The building was originally a pole barn later enclosed by a former owner to be her flower shop. My husband and I brainstormed what to do with this space. Initially my husband wanted to make it into his man cave but ultimately, we decided to transform it into a clinic where I could serve community health needs. This started a long journey of rezoning for medical office and my husband renovating the space into a proper medical office. This clinic space has afforded me the opportunity to share God’s love with more of our community.

Is your clinic in a mall area or in a high-rise office building?

Fluvanna Health Clinic is located in an unconventional location behind my home. During the planning process I had concerns about the location and I didn’t know how patients would feel. I have been extremely blessed with the community response over the past year. As patients arrive to the clinic they drive by my home, down the hill and park in the small parking lot next to the clinic. It’s a quieter and more private setting than the traditional medical office. Patients tell me daily how much they like the setting and how they feel less stressed walking in. Since opening Fluvanna Health Clinic in May 2021, I’ve had an amazing community response.

Since opening, have you been pleased with the response from potential patients?

What I thought would be a small and simple clinic has turned into a robust opportunity to serve our county. My typical clinic day consists of seeing new primary care patients, primary care follow-ups, sick visits, drug screening, employment physicals, and CDL physicals. At Fluvanna Health Clinic I try to make more time for my patients then the traditional office. Of course, things get busy at times but I want to take the time to know who I’m treating, their struggles, and find practical ways to help them on their health care journey. 

You mentioned one of your services is primary care.  What is that?

Primary care is when a medical provider partners with patients in health prevention while also caring for a broad spectrum of health issues. As a family nurse practitioner, I am certified to care for all ages but in the clinic, I mostly focus on older children through  adult (including those young at heart). My services include but are not limited to primary care, chronic disease management, sick visits, sports physicals, drug screening, CDL physicals, and employment physicals. We also offer on-site lab draws processed through LabCorp. 

Do you work with other medical professionals?

As an experienced family nurse practitioner in the state of Virginia I am licensed to be autonomous, meaning the Board of Nursing and the Board of Medicine do not require me to have direct physician oversight. This autonomous designation gives me the ability to have my own clinic. With that said, I have always believed that we as health care providers best work in collaboration with each other. No matter the specialty, we all work together. Daily I find myself on the phone with physicians, physical therapists, dieticians, nurses, and social workers to coordinate care on my patient’s behalf. My experience and certification combined with today’s broad methods of communications allow me to serve my patients well. Gone are the days where you had to be standing next to someone in the same office to coordinate care. Now a lot of care coordination happens over the phone or other modalities.

 Do most health care facilities include a medical doctor or is this sometimes not necessary?

As a private practice I am not owned by a large hospital system but I coordinate care with their providers on a day-to-day basis. When patients need a specialist, imaging, referral, etc. I simply ask them what hospital system they prefer and I coordinate care accordingly.

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