19 years serving Selma and Kingsburg: Nurse practitioner calls local community her 'home'

Nurse practitioner Dee White (right) performs a checkup on 17-year-old Bethanie Stafford of Kingsburg. 

Contributed

Veteran family nurse practitioner Dee White gets high marks for her gentle and caring approach from patients. Her patience with patients may be due to her favorite form of exercise: kickboxing.

White has been helping patients at Adventist Health/Community Care in Selma and Kingsburg since the 1990s. But before that, she spent 16 years working as a nurse practitioner aboard Naval Air Station Lemoore. 

White has a doctorate in nursing practice from Rocky Mountain University, in Provo, Utah. She earned a Master’s and Family Nurse Practitioner training at California State University, Fresno.

She came to the former Selma Community Hospital in 1996.

“Adventist Health purchased the hospital and health center where I was working three years later,” White said in an interview done by email. “I arrived at Adventist Health/Community Care in Kingsburg in March [2015].”

She sees urgent care patients who come in for injuries such as

fractures, lacerations, acute coughs and colds, among other conditions.

White knew she wanted a career in medicine since childhood.

“When I was 11 or 12 years old, I knew I wanted to be a nurse,” White said. “I never wanted to do anything else. I knew I enjoyed being around people. This was definitely where my passion was.”

After two years in Selma, White said the center became “home.”

“I had developed a camaraderie with staff and close relationships with my patients,” White said. “I felt I was doing something worthwhile.”

Her patients praise her work on Facebook.

  • Rosemary Pena Garcia: “Dee White is awesome. I was one of her patients’ years back in Selma. Last week she treated me here in Kingsburg. She truly cares about her patients.”
  • Cindy Mishou: “She will be a great asset to Adventist.”
  • Mary Lou Lopez: “She saved my daughter’s life. She diagnosed my daughter with appendix burst a week after doctors had told her she had the flu. She really cares.”
  • Pearl DeLeon: “Dee has been with the clinic for 20 years. She is very good and caring.”

White was unaware of the Facebook remarks until Amanda Jaurigui, Adventist Health public relations and multimedia specialist, showed her the social media site last week.

“Dee had not read the comments,” Jaurigui said. “When we logged on Facebook to show her, she became teary-eyed. She said comments like these make her feel very humbled.”

White likes the one-on-one interaction with patients.

“I hope my patients leave satisfied that they’ve received the best care that I could have possibly given them,” she said. “I have a good time with my patients, especially children. Many times, children are frightened when mom and dad sit them on the examination bed, so I joke around with them and try to be playful to make them feel more at ease.”

Charlotte Montelongo is site manager for Adventist Health in Kingsburg.

“Patients come out of Dee’s office feeling happy that she listened to them and that they were well taken care of,” Montelongo said. “Kids love her.”

White has advice for anyone interested in a career as an Advanced Practice Provider.

“I would strongly recommend that they work with patients first,” she said. ‘They should experience what it’s like because it will give them a better insight into how to treat patients. You have to be a good listener. People can sense your willingness and desire to help them.”

White counts Dr. Alexander Moir and Dr. Thomas Lauck as her mentors.

“Dr. Moir is kind, compassionate, understanding, extremely knowledgeable and has a wonderful sense of humor. I’ve worked with him since 1996. One thing he said that I carry to this day is, that you never stop learning, and it’s true. I learn something new from my patients every single day and from my medical assistants. Dr. Thomas Lauck was also a great mentor. I worked with him for 12 years before he left the Selma clinic. He helped me build self-confidence in the way I care, diagnose, treat and follow up with my patients.”

White’s approach to telling patients their responsibility for their health is this: “I tell patients I will only work as hard as they do. I hold my patients accountable for their health. I like to be honest with my patients,” she said.

Away from the center, White is active with her church, plays golf and does kickboxing for exercise.

“I started kickboxing six years ago,” White said. “It helps relieve stress and is a great cardio exercise.”

The Fresno resident has no plans for retirement.

“I enjoy caring for patients here in Kingsburg,” she said. “I’m starting to build relationships with patients and staff. My patients seem to be appreciative. God willing, I will continue practicing because I enjoy what I do. As long as God gives me the strength and ability to do what I love to do, I will continue to do it.”

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