Congratulations, it is an Honor to Feature
Danita J. Mitchell, FNP-C
Lead Primary Care Provider, JenCare Senior Medical Center, Newport News
Most of Danita Mitchell’s patients are over age 65. Her oldest was 101. And as a Family Nurse Practitioner, Mitchell is determined that they all never stop learning about their health.
“Education is my passion,” she says. “My biggest joy is helping people understand how to take better care of themselves. I aim to build up their trust in me, so they will share their concerns and turn to me for guidance.”
An FNP since 2018 and a Registered Nurse since 2011, Mitchell has experience in a wide variety of medical specialties and settings. She joined JenCare Senior Medical Center in Newport News last year and recently was promoted to Lead Primary Care Physician.
Mitchell’s primary focus is diagnosing and managing high-risk chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and kidney conditions in a Medicare-aged population. She aims to help her patients avoid hospitalizations and enjoy the best possible quality of life at home.
JenCare patients have frequent appointments, and Mitchell provides her cell phone number for communication between in-person and telemedicine visits. She starts each appointment by listening to a patient before bringing up her concerns or care recommendations.
“I know my patients need to feel heard,” she explains. “I always want them to see how passionate I am about caring for them as if they’re family members.” Mitchell also tries to keep on top of what’s happening in their personal lives, noting, “all of that is part of their health.”
Discussing diet, exercise and lifestyle changes that can keep potentially dangerous chronic conditions at bay is a major part of Mitchell’s job. Diabetic patients, for example, may not understand that the term “carbohydrates” covers many foods besides candy and desserts, from rice and bread to sodas and juices.
Similarly, patients with hypertension often don’t know about the impact of eating naturally salty foods such as sandwich meats and canned soups; Mitchell helps them think beyond only needing to avoid the salt shaker to better manage elevated or high blood pressure.
“We do food charts and discuss how to make a healthy plate,” she relates. “We talk about how ‘exercise’ can be a daily walk, not running a marathon. I really break things down for them, and I also want them to understand exactly what they’re risking if a disease is NOT controlled.”
Growing up in Alabama, Mitchell knew as a child that she wanted a career in medicine. She thought she’d be a surgeon until, as a young mother, she witnessed how much nurses helped her toddler daughter during extensive tests for a possible bleeding disorder.
“My little girl was terrified of needles, and the nurses just cared so much for her,” Mitchell recalls. “I knew I wouldn’t get that level of interaction with my patients as a surgeon.”
Mitchell, now a mother of two, earned an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing from Thomas Nelson Community College and later a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing-FNP from Walden University.
Over the past decade, she has worked in convalescent care, psychology, telemetry and cardiac care, intensive care, dialysis, and home health in hospital, nursing home and outpatient settings. She also has treated military patients at Langley Air Force Base and the VA Medical Center in Hampton. “My experiences help me optimize care for my patients today,” she notes.
A music lover who enjoys singing, dancing and playing the drums, Mitchell describes herself as grateful to work every day.
“Unfortunately, too many seniors don’t get the quality medical attention that they deserve,” she says. “I love to be there for them. I love all the stories they have to tell me. They’re incredible people.”
We are grateful for local Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants who serve our healthcare community! Please let us know if there is an NP or PA you would like to see honored in a future edition. email@example.com