Georgina Advocate Published an article on August 15th 2022
By Sheri Andrunyk
Beth Cowper-Fung is a nurse practitioner (NP) specializing in primary care, as well as the clinic director at the Georgina Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic (GNPLC). She has worked in Georgina and as an NP since January 2009 and is continually inspired by her patients to give back in the community and beyond. The appreciation goes both ways, and the thoughtful expressions of thanks Beth regularly receives is a tremendous gift to her.
Through Beth’s nursing she personally provides health-care services to over 400 patients, ranging in age from mere months to 93 years. She also leads an amazing team of health-care professionals and administrators in caring for over 3,600 residents of Georgina. Beth prides herself in being involved in committee work with the Southlake Community Ontario Health Team, York Region Vaccine Taskforce, Ontario Health: Quality Division for Primary Care Quality Advisory Committee, and the Provincial Primary Care Advisory Table. Through this, she provides important perspectives on primary care, health-care planning, and issues that affect people locally, regionally, and provincially.
Before going back to university to become a registered nurse, Beth was a medic with the Canadian Armed Forces. Her training as a medic has been the foundation for her education and leadership throughout her career.
In 2003, she was a clinical nurse educator when SARS broke out in the hospital where she worked. Beth was responsible for sharing the updates and personal protective equipment changes of the day to all the medical units in the hospital. This experience was instrumental for her during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2010, she partnered with her NP colleagues, Anne Hughes and Melissa Cassidy, in a successful bid to open the GNPLC to provide services to the people of Georgina who did not have primary care providers. They also provide care to the residents of Georgina Island, local group homes for special needs adults, and outreach to the two local shelters.
Understandably, the pandemic has been very difficult and busy for Beth and her team, from COVID-testing in their parking lot, community centres and schools, to running vaccine clinics and supporting mass vaccination centres, and treating patients with COVID. This, all in addition to their ongoing primary services. That said, one of Beth’s most memorable moments was setting up the first local drive-through COVID-19 testing day in July of 2020, grateful to work with the mayor, local EMS, the fire department, York Region Public Health, and the GNPLC team and board.
To strike a balance during these trying times, Beth relishes quality time with her lovely teenage daughter, Isabelle, and her husband, Sean, who together celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in 2022. She continues to horseback ride with friends, walks and cycles with Sean, and has developed a daily yoga practice.