If the new Family Nurse Practitioner at Prowers Medical Center Clinic looks familiar to you, it might be because she and her family have lived in this area for a long time.
“I’m a graduate of McClave High School,” said Shelby Casper, who joined the practice in October. “I grew up in the country near here, and so did my husband, Kyle, who’s from Swink. Both our families are still here. This is home.”
Family is one of two important reasons Casper returned to the Lamar area after earning her bachelor’s degree at Colorado State University-Pueblo, followed by her Master’s Degree in Nursing at Regis University. “We were living in Greeley,” she explained, “but when I was pregnant with our son, Haxton, who’s now 17 months old, we decided we wanted to be closer to family.”
Serving the community she calls home is the other important reason. “I attended Regis’ Rural and Underserved Family Nurse Practitioner program that specifically prepares providers to practice in rural and underserved areas,” Casper said. “It’s a new program, and I was part of their first cohort.”
Casper explained that she remembers what it was like growing up in a rural area where doctors and other care providers typically came and went. She also recalled friends and family members having to drive a couple of hours just for care. “I really wanted to make a difference,” she said. “There’s such a great need here.”
The concepts of family and community service combine in Casper’s philosophy of care. “This clinic is family serving family,” she said. “It’s about promoting health and taking care of each other. I’m here to be my patients’ advocate. We’re a team. It’s essential to include patients in their care because they’re the most important component.”
Casper joins three other family nurse practitioners and two doctors at the clinic. The practice provides care to people of all ages for the full gamut of health issues. Casper especially stresses preventive care.
“Family practice has evolved to preventive care because the sooner we come across an abnormality, the easier it is to treat and the better the outcome,” she said. “Wellness visits are so important because they’re really effective at helping us stay on top of your health and keeping you healthy, versus battling serious and expensive illnesses once they’ve gone too far.”
When she’s not working, Casper can almost always be found — you guessed it — spending time with her son and husband as well as their extended families. Kyle is a project manager for a construction company, and they enjoy doing projects together in their home and yard. Casper’s other interests include refinishing old furniture, cooking, and going on mission trips to Haiti.
Since her 4H and gymkhana days as a girl, Casper has also had a passion for horses. Her son has a pony and she has a quarter horse, Jack, who is “accident-prone and quite ornery.”
Casper makes it clear that she won’t be a provider who’s here then gone. “I’m a hometown girl,” she said. “This is why I went back to school—to serve my community. And I’m not going anywhere.”