Beth Phelps, APRN, DNP, CNP, began her term as the ANA-Illinois Board Secretary in 2021. “The timing was right. It just fit exactly with what I’d been wanting to do. It was perfect,” says Beth.

Current Work in Urgent Care, Teaching

Beth is an acute care nurse practitioner at Springfield Clinic in Springfield, Illinois. She’s been with the clinic for 13 years.

Within the clinic, Beth sits on the Advanced Practice Council. She also sits on the research committee.

“I am the first nurse practitioner or PA that’s been asked to sit on that committee. It’s an all physician committee that reports to the board of directors. That was a big honor. This is my third year on the committee.”

Her work with the clinic is only one of the many hats she wears. She also teaches in the Doctorate of Nursing Program at the University of Illinois-Chicago College of Nursing. There, among other responsibilities, she manages clinical placements for students in the acute care program, chairs DNP candidate research committees, teaches courses, and advises students.

“In the spring I added an undergraduate fundamentals nursing class. It is the very first time a nursing student goes to the hospital for clinical. I had so much fun being with the undergraduate students. It is going to be a permanent additional to my classes because I enjoyed it so much.”

Beth has also taught seminars on suturing, reading x-rays, splinting techniques, causes of ear pain, and more.

Even though it doesn’t seem possible for one person to be involved in so many areas, Beth makes it work.

“My hats all fit together nicely, somehow, some way. It just kind of works.”

Career Beginning

Beth started her nursing career as a CNA.

“When I was a kid back in high school, my best friend went to school to be a CNA. So, then I decided to be a CNA. I got a job at a local nursing home, and I knew I was going to be a nurse.”

She received her BSN from OSF Saint Francis College of Nursing.

“I graduated from their first BSN class in 1992.”

Partners in Long-Term Care

After working on the neuro floor at OSF Saint Francis, she returned to working in a nursing home. Serendipitously, her husband was also working in the long-term care industry and was training to be a nursing home administrator. Beth worked as a consultant creating care plans for nursing homes while her husband finished the training program.

Hospital Work

After working in the nursing home industry for about 5 years, Beth was ready for a change. She wanted to get back into hospital work.

“I needed to refresh my hospital-based skills, so I did some travel nursing at that point. It helped me to get the skills I needed. I worked the float at Methodist Hospital in Peoria, Illinois for a long time. Then I took a job at OSF Saint Francis in the CVICU for several years. For 3 years, I worked both of those jobs so my husband could go back to school. “

Clinical With a World-Renowned Surgeon

After several years in the hospital, Beth was ready for more education.

She went to the University of Illinois-Chicago to become an acute care nurse practitioner. During her master’s program she worked in the cardiovascular ICU at OSF Saint Francis with acclaimed heart surgeon Dr. Dale Geiss.

“I was very lucky. He was a world-renowned surgeon. He offered to let me do all 3 semesters of clinical with him. I was able to scrub in on all of his surgeries and first-assist with him. I put in hundreds of lines and intubated patients. I made rounds with him and saw patients in the office with him. The skills were just amazing that he taught me. ”

Hurricane Charlie

After graduation, she and her husband moved to Florida so she could work for a heart surgeon and help run a cardiovascular ICU.

But Hurricane Charlie had other plans.

“I was only there about four months when hurricane Charlie hit. The place we were renting was completely destroyed. All our furniture was destroyed. Luckily, we hadn’t put our home up for sale in Illinois. We had no furniture and lost most of our personal belonging. We just drove home. Unlocked our door, came in, inflated an air mattress, and slept on it for a couple of months.”

Smoke-Free State Legislation & DNP

What many could have considered a disaster, she and her husband took as a redirection. Beth went to work for Southern Illinois University (SIU). She ran the lung cancer program for Dr. Steve Hazelrigg for 4 years.  She sat on the board of directors of the American Cancer Society. She worked with the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association to promote the smoke-free Illinois legislation.

“I’m really proud that we were able to get Illinois as a smoke-free state. That was just really important. It was amazing to be part of that and to work on that.”

When she started at SIU, she also started work on her DNP. After she completed her DNP, she made the move to Springfield Clinic, where she works now. She worked in ENT (ear, nose, and throat) for 7 years. Now she works in Urgent Care, which has 4 locations (Sherman, Jacksonville, Springfield Main Campus, and Springfield West Wabash). She has been with Springfield Clinic for a total of 13 years.

Flat-Coated Retrievers

Nursing and teaching aren’t Beth’s only passions. She has the number one Flat-coated Retriever in the country.

“I managed to finish his international champion this year. We’re one more win from finishing his grand champion. He finished the year as the number one flat-coated retriever in the United Kennel Club. I started him in American Kennel Club this year. I’m excited about that. I’m very proud of him. He had a good year.”

The first week in June Beth is taking both of her dogs to the Flat Coated Retriever National to compete in several competitions including hunt tests, working certificates, obedience, and conformation.