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Dixie Ishee is newest FNP at MMH PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chris Lee   

Dixie Ishee has been hired as a new Family Nurse Practitioner at Family Practice of Holyoke and Melissa Memorial Hospital.

Ishee comes to Holyoke from Memphis, Tenn.

Ishee was born and raised in Utica, Miss., a small town of less than 1,000. She attended the University of Mississippi where she became a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. She then moved to Memphis where she worked at Baptist Hospital giving anesthesia for about seven years. At that time, it was the largest private hospital in the world with 700 beds, according to Ishee.

Also, at that time, age 23, she was the youngest CRNA in the United States.

After her time at Baptist, she decided to attend law school at Memphis University of Memphis. There, by age 30, she became a lawyer.

She practiced medical law, general practice and medical products liability. After her stint as a lawyer, she decided to go back into anesthesia.

She moved to Nassawadox, Va., where she worked at Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital for three years.

Dixie Ishee began working as an FNP in Holyoke Monday, Oct. 1.  

—Enterprise photo

From there, she decided she really wanted to be a nurse practitioner. She went back to school in Memphis and went through the family nurse practitioner program. She took the family practice boards about a month ago.

She knew she wanted to work in a smaller community because in a large city, FNPs do minor things. In a rural setting, they see many patients.

With her anesthesia background, Ishee said she kind of likes excitement. “Putting people to sleep is a big job, and so I kind of like the excitement of the ER,” she added. In Holyoke, she will have the opportunity to help cover the emergency room.

She specializes in wound care. While in nurse practitioner school, she worked every weekend as the supervisor and wound care nurse at a rehab nursing home.

In addition to becoming a CRNA, lawyer and FNP, she has held several other jobs. She has volunteered as a home health nurse and has been a sexual assault examiner, to name a few.

Ishee said she interviewed in Fairbanks, Alaska the week after visiting Holyoke. She has always liked Alaska as her mother always wanted to teach there. “We grew up with a love of Alaska,” Ishee said. Her five siblings have all been there. After her interview she knew Holyoke was the place she wanted to be.

“I really liked John Ayoub,” Ishee said of the MMH administrator. “He impressed me as an administrator.”

While in town interviewing, she stopped by many of the local establishments. “Everybody was so nice and welcoming,” Ishee said. “They were friendly and helpful.” Those who met her got a taste of Ishee’s deep southern drawl.

She will spend her first week or so getting used to the systems at Family Practice of Holyoke and MMH, then she will begin seeing patients.

With the hospital just implementing a new electronic medical record system, Ishee arrived just in time. She is familiar with EMRs and has used similar systems.

She has noticed the language barrier in Holyoke with the Hispanic community. After spending much of her life in school, she’s not too eager to jump back into the classroom, but said she may consider taking a Spanish class. Ishee said she knows French and wishes she knew how to speak Spanish to make communication easier.

As of Friday, Oct. 5, Ishee was enjoying getting to know the ropes in Holyoke. She said following the other providers around gave a different perspective. Once settled, she will become busy with her patients and not really be capable of seeing how the other providers operate. It also gives her a chance to see how the patients react in Holyoke.

Ishee said she has been impressed with the friendliness of the staff so far. “People here don’t just say, “‘yes I’d be glad to help you,’” which is a nice thing to say. They actually take the next step and go do it,” Ishee said. “That friendliness and helpfulness is a pleasant change from the city.”

An avid walker, Ishee has already met numerous people who have stopped her on the street. She was shocked when Laura Krogmeier let her take her dog into the book store and the Credit Union told her coffee and tea would always be available.

“I just feel so welcomed,” she said.

Choosing Holyoke, Ishee is close to the mountains where she has spent time snow skiing. She also owns a couple kayaks which will come in handy during the summer months.

Ishee also enjoys fishing, hiking, golfing, biking and walking her miniature schnauzer.

Ishee’s five siblings all live in Mississippi. They meet up every year to go skiing and a trip to Breckenridge is planned for this winter. She also has many nieces and nephews she enjoys spending time with.

Other than for a bad moving experience (as of last Friday, she was still waiting on her truck which was supposed to arrive in town two days earlier), Ishee is loving Holyoke and looking forward to becoming part of the community.

Holyoke Enterprise October 11, 2012