Young professional excited to help with medical records

Published 11:14 am Saturday, June 28, 2014

Merle Monahan/Contributing Writer



FRANKLIN—Dana Stallings, the new educator at the Chronic Disease and Diabetic Clinic in the Franklin Health Department, knew when she was three years old that she would be a nurse when she grew up.

“My mom is in the profession and used to work the 3-to-11 shift at Obici Hospital when I was little. My dad would take me down to visit her around dinner time so we could join her when she had her meal.

“Afterward, I’d watch her as she took care of her patients and was fascinated by her work,” Stallings said.

“Everything I’ve done since then, the classes I’ve taken and the colleges I’ve attended have led me to where I am today.”

The young wife and mother grew up in Isle of Wight County, graduated from Isle of Wight Academy and enrolled in Chowan University. However, she soon transferred to Radford University because of its nursing program, however.

But Radford’s program didn’t last, so she moved over to the Riverside School of Professional Nursing where she earned her nursing credentials in 2007.

She received her BS in “Nursing at Old Dominion University while working as a nurse at Obici.

“I worked at the Suffolk hospital until 2013, when I took a job as nursing instructor at Paul D Camp Community College,” she said.

Stallings said she then had the chance to reopen the clinic at the Franklin Health Department and assumed her duties there in April.

“The clinic, which is 100 percent grant-funded, was actually started in 2006,” she said, “but closed when the nurse who was in charge had to leave.”

The energetic young professional said she is excited about the opportunities she has to help a group of people who, for the most part, have no place to learn about their illnesses.

“There are so many people here in Southampton County alone who are diabetic and don’t even know it. They are not getting the proper care, some because they cannot afford it and others who are not aware of what they need.”

Stallings said she has already initiated a program where patients may get the information they should have.

“First, the clinic, which is funded by Franklin Southampton Charities, offers free services regardless of Insurance or income.

“Classes are held twice monthly on the first and third Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and are structured to explain the disease and its complications and to teach patients how to cope with it.”

As the instructor, Stallings will assist patients in finding a doctor, handling their medications and how getting other medical attention. She also conducts monthly screenings.

Classes are open to family members and caregivers as well as patients, she explained. To participate they must call and make an appointment at 562-6109.

Stallings said when she assumed her new position, there was one stipulation. She must build up a patient base of 40 to 50 people.

“I’m almost there,” she said with a smile.

It is obvious that Stallings, 31, loves her work. It is a subject she is happy to discuss and often speaks before various groups.

“Information is the key. So many people don’t realize that diabetes, for instance, can be controlled. I’m happy to spread the word,” she added with a grin.

But Stallings does have other interests.

“I love to go camping with my husband, Michael, and our girls. I also love to cook and folks say I’m pretty good. But it’s hard to find the time, since we both work.

“We do get to church, though,” she continued. “But I no longer sing in the choir like I did when I was younger. Too busy.”

NAME: Dana E. Stallings
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO THIS AREA: I am a lifelong resident of Isle of Wight County.
HOMETOWN: Windsor.
OCCUPATION: Chronic Disease and Diabetes educator, Virginia Department of Health.
MARITAL STATUS: Married to Michael Stallings.
CHILDREN, AGES AND SCHOOLS: We have two girls, Brooklyn, 5, and Bristol, 4. Both attend day care.
FAVORITE NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN: Dining and walking the streets in Colonial Williamsburg.
FAVORITE RESTAURANT: A Chef’s Kitchen in Williamsburg.
FAVORITE FOOD AND BEVERAGE: Homemade meatloaf, mashed potatoes and sweet tea.
WHAT DO MOST FOLKS NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU: I have been an Elvis Presley fan since I was 10.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOU: I am outgoing and could talk to a tree.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST HABIT: I could talk to a tree.
PETS: We have two Jack Russell Terriers, Casey, age 11, and Kilby, age 10.
FAVORITE HOBBIES: Camping and boating on the lake with our children and music.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB: Working in a music store in the mall.
IF YOU HAD 10 MINUTES ON NATIONAL TELEVISION, WHAT WOULD YOUR TOPIC BE AND WHAT WOULD YOU SAY: I would talk about diabetes, which is growing in our own community by leaps and bounds and the need to educate patients on this disease. The Chronic Disease and Diabetes Clinic, of which I am in charge within the Franklin Health Department, is one-of-a-kind and a wonderful resource for the residents of Southampton County. My talk would stress the importance of early detection and inform residents of the services we offer.