Small Town, Big Help

1 decade 7 months 2 weeks ago Monday, October 08 2007 Oct 8, 2007 Monday, October 08, 2007 1:09:21 AM CDT October 08, 2007 in News

From sore throats, to ear aches, to asthma, nurse practitioner Laurie Beach sees it all. With 20 years of nursing experience under her belt, and an amiable personality, she's developed a fan-base of sorts.

Beach opened the Pilot Grove Rural Health Clinic two years ago, not knowing what to expect.

"Just jumped in and said, 'Sink, swim, or have fun, we're going to do it,'" Beach said.

With one small hallway, three patient care rooms and patients that range from kids to seniors, Beach is busy. In order to stay open, Beach was told she had to have at least eight patients a day, and in a town of less than 800 people.

"I was a little scared of that figure, didn't know if I'd be able to do it," Beach said.

However, business has amounted to about 13 times the amount of patients that live in the area and totals more than 9,000 patients.

"We have people call that have heard about her, read about her and want to come see her, and they all keep coming back," said Janet Anderson, a receptionist at the clinic.

Beach's patients keep coming back for a job well done.

"I'm a lot healthier today than I have been and obviously she's a big part of that," patient Laura Holman said.

Dawn Perkins also relies solely on Beach.

"Don't have to see several other doctors, it's just one person," Perkins said.

When Beach started the clinic two years ago, it was only the third of its kind in the state and now there are almost twenty. Beach's clinic is rare because of the number of communities the clinic reaches.

Beach serves patients from Bunceton, Prarie Home, Boonville, New Franklin, Glasgow, Sweet Spring, Marshall and Houstonia. But while staying busy isn't tough, there is a slight disadvantage to the small business: trying to keep up with technology.

With up to 40 patients a day, Beach makes do.

"Only thing I have are my eyes and ears so I really have to hone in on my skills," Beach said.

But at the end of the workday, she's still a mom before a physician. Co-workers and patients alike say it's that compassion that makes her unique.

There are some limits to nursing clinics like Beach's. Most fall under restrictions on giving high level prescriptions.

Most states are more liberal than Missouri, so Beach has to consult a physician in order to prescribe some medications. Beach is helping to expand the number of nursing clinics like her own across the state by sharing her experience and tips for starting a business to others.

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