WEST POINT – Even though Certified Family Nurse Practitioner Sarah Mattox Powell and nurse Bianca Burroughs-Davis graduated six years apart from Aberdeen High School and never knew each other until working together in the medical field, their professional destinies were meant to meet again.
Since March 1, they’ve served together at Monroe Regional Hospital’s West Point Clinic. Powell was furloughed from her previous job after COVID-19 surfaced, and her position was ultimately dissolved, which led to this opportunity.
“God made all this happen. During that time, I had to make myself marketable. First off was to [Monroe Regional Hospital CEO] Chris Chandler to say, ‘Hey, I’m on the market. What’s available? That kind of put the ball in play,” she said.
Powell completed her undergrad from the Mississippi University of Women after attending Itawamba Community College and Ole Miss, where she graduated with a degree in biology. She earned her master’s degree from Delta State University and was certified as a family nurse practitioner by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
She worked five years in labor and delivery at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle and previously worked in internal medicine in West Point.
Burroughs-Davis graduated from AHS in 1997, and Powell graduated in 2003.
“She was in on my very first interview with internal medicine. We both came from the same town; we had that Aberdeen High School feel. We kind of hit it off there. We later found out we had a little more in common. She had lost a sibling. I had lost a sibling, so that got it more on a personal level. She definitely helped me make the transition from nurse to nurse practitioner,” Powell said.
The West Point Clinic is Powell’s first clinic. She wants it to feel like home for patients while treating them with personal care.
“With me being the primary provider here and we’re working together, they’re looking at me like, ‘What do you want to do?’ Then we just put the ball in motion and make it go – from Bianca’s nursing and lab sides and getting patients coming in. Alkenie [Bailey] is basically our receptionist/scheduler/biller/coder. She’s the face you see when you come in, and we really work together very well. We’re all onboard,” Powell said.
She is happy to be a part of Monroe Regional Hospital, and its Aberdeen connection gives her hometown pride.
“There are good things happening in Aberdeen. Monroe Regional is expanding lots of services and clinics throughout northeast Mississippi, and it makes me proud to be from Aberdeen and see what Monroe Regional is doing. There are a lot of providers who are good mentors for me, not just with the medical side but the business side as well,” she said.
While at Ole Miss, a pharmacy career was Powell’s first choice, with nursing as the backup plan. She pursued nursing since she was on the wait list for pharmacy school. While at AHS, she shadowed Currie Bounds at Currie’s Pharmacy and gained experience in patient interaction. She went on to work as a pharmacy technician at Fred’s Pharmacy in Aberdeen throughout school, which gave more insight on medical terms. She carries those lessons along with her career.
“Being able to know what I’m talking about and break it down so the patient and families know, I like doing that as best as possible,” she said.
Powell also credits traits of her parents, Ed and Anita, for her bubbly personality and sense of conducting business to add a personal touch.
“You being the face, you being there when a person comes in, you being in the community – that’s big for me,” she said. “I just want patients to know they can approach me at any time, but it’s still confidential.”