It’s Never Too Late

CHPE Student Spotlight: FNP Scholar Bevin McGahey

Bevin McGahey, BSN, always planned on getting her master’s degree. What she didn’t plan on was waiting so long to do it.

“I anticipated going back to school much earlier,” said Bevin. “But now my kids are older, and they don’t need me all the time like they did when they were little. It felt like a good opportunity to pursue getting my masters. But I can’t say that I ever thought I would go back to school at 40!”

Bevin’s childhood was spent going back and forth between West Virginia and Upstate New York, but after she graduated with a BSN from SUNY Plattsburgh in NY, she was ready to move somewhere new. She knew she wanted to live somewhere with a warmer climate, proximity to the mountains, and a thriving swing dance community. It came down to San Francisco and Asheville. She chose Asheville and has been here ever since.

After moving to North Carolina, Bevin got a job at Mission Health and worked for three years in their cardiovascular step-down unit. Then she went to the cardiovascular intensive care unit and was there for 12 years.

For the past five years Bevin’s been at the Asheville Surgery Center, the last two of which she’s also been attending Western Carolina University’s Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Program. The FNP Program is a specialized education program for nurses that focuses on pathophysiology, health assessment, pharmacology, and primary care for adults, women, children, and older adults.

During the two-year program, students are required to complete more than 600 hours of hands-on clinical training to help hone their skills in real-world settings. That’s where MAHEC comes in. Through the FNP Scholar Program, Bevin has had the opportunity to do all of her clinical training at MAHEC with rotations at a number of different sites including ob/gyn, family health, and geriatric practices. The four students in each scholar class also train in MAHEC’s Simulation Center in addition to taking part in quarterly didactics and other educational opportunities provided through MAHEC.

“I really think that this is a phenomenal program for nurse practitioners because it provides opportunities that a lot of the other programs don’t,” said Bevin. “Working with people who are used to teaching is a huge help. I have been with so many different people in all of my clinical rotations, and I haven’t had a negative experience.”

The feeling is mutual, as the MAHEC staff who had the pleasure of working with Bevin will tell you. “Bevin is an amazing student who has great rapport with patients and with staff,” said Susan McDowell, MD. “She excels with patient education and is a motivated learner. I’m looking forward to seeing what she does in the years to come!”

“Bevin was a joy to work with at our Newbridge clinic,” added Ginger Poulton, MD, MSEd, DipABLM. “Her compassion, curiosity, and passion for patients shined through every day.”

Outside of work, much of Bevin’s life revolves around physical activity. She used to be big into swing dancing (it’s how she met her husband), but these days they only dance it in their kitchen.

Her focus now is endurance mountain biking, where races can last 3-10 hours. She’s been racing for about 17 years, and it’s become a family affair. “Now my kids are really getting into it and starting to get faster than mom.”

Looking back, Bevin wishes she’s started her master’s degree sooner, but, as she says, “hindsight is not worth lingering in.”

 “It would be nice to be a little further along,” Bevin acknowledged. “But I’m in a nationwide Facebook study group, and there are a couple ladies their 50s who just passed their boards for the first time.”