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NRVCS Staff Spotlights: Day 1

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New River Valley Community Services (NRVCS) is observing “Employee Appreciation Week” October 25 – 29 in celebration of our dedicated team of professionals. Throughout this week, we will be introducing you to some of our amazing staff.

Below are our featured “Staff Spotlights” for Monday, October 25:

AMBER ATKINS
Position: Revenue Cycle Credentialing Specialist
Department: Reimbursement
Years at NRVCS: 2

Please share a little about your background:
I am originally from Afton, just outside of Charlottesville and moved to Blacksburg in 2012 for school. Prior to working for NRVCS, I worked at an addiction treatment facility.

Why did you choose this particular career/job?
I enjoy that every day there is something new to work on. One day I’m helping a newly licensed provider navigate the paneling process and the next I’m updating billing matrix lines.

What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
The most rewarding part of my work is being able to help the agency maximize revenue collection by ensuring timely provider credentialing.

What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know that I grew up showing horses. I was in my first horse show at three years old (leadline class) and continued to show until I moved to Blacksburg.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Outside of work I enjoy hiking, exploring new areas and baking!



EVA HUDSON
Position: Patient Access Specialist/Support Staff (Giles Clinic)
Department: Support Staff
Years at NRVCS: 33 years

Please share a little about your background:
I was born in Abingdon, Virginia and we moved to Giles County by the time I was two. My dad came here to take over his brother’s Shoe Repair Business in 1970. And here I still remain. I am married with adult two children and one grandson.

I graduated from NRCC with an associate degree in Secretarial Science. I applied for a job with New River Valley Community Services right after graduation and was hired as the secretarial staff for the agency’s Blacksburg office – which was located in a double-wide trailer on South Main in Blacksburg. Since then, I have been support staff, the agency’s first medical records technician, a psychiatric case manager with Dr. Miglani and now back to support staff/Patient Access Specialist at the Giles Clinic. I also served as a Diversity Trainer for the agency for six years.

In the past 30 + years with the agency, I have watched NRVCS change from many different sites and being divided by disabilities (MH, SA, IDD and Prevention services) to services/disabilities and sites combined under one roof (the 700 building). And now, as we continue to grow, we are moving back to many different sites throughout the New River Valley. 

Why did you choose this particular career/job?
I don’t remember why I choose to be a secretary 30 years ago. I think it just seemed like what I was supposed to do. I did love Ms. Wiggins (“Huh-Wiggins”) on the Carol Burnett Show. I remember as I was graduating from college and applying for jobs, the advertisement for a secretary in Blacksburg caught my eye due to the starting salary being better than most positions I had looked at.

What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
The most rewarding part of my job is seeing clients actually get better or becoming able to overcome their illness and lead a productive life. This is my hometown and I have pride in knowing that I make a difference here by helping individuals get the services they need. I try to go above and beyond to ensure that staff coming to Giles to work have the support they need to do their job, whether it be helping to find resources for clients or just knowing they have a clean bathroom to stop in and use. I try to ensure that clients have a consistent, friendly face/voice that they can depend on to  help with their needs, whether it be helping them get services with our agency or outside agencies as needed, reading their mail to them, or just being that one consistent person in their life that they can call. 

What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I am not sure that there is something people don’t know about me. I am pretty much a very simple open book. 

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Outside of work my time is spent with my mom, who has Alzheimer’s, and keeping my grandson on weekends because his mom works.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying you would like to share?
One of my favorite quotes/sayings comes from my son who always says, “You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.” 



JESSICA CLARK
Position: Accounts Payable Specialist
Department: Accounting
Years at NRVCS: 2 1/2 years

Please share a little about your background:
I grew up here in the NRV and currently live in Dublin. I attended New River Community College and studied human services, but oddly enough, I’m much better at what I’m doing now!

Why did you choose this particular career/job?
I’ve always wanted to work in this field in some capacity. My family has seen the positive effect NRVCS can have on their clients and I have just always wanted to be a part of that somehow.

What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
Even though I don’t work directly or hands-on with our clients, being just a small part of an agency that does so much is really rewarding.

What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
Putting a lot of thought and care into gifts for others brings me so much more joy than receiving gifts.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I have a six-year-old daughter, so most of my free time is spent at ballet, or at our best friend’s (when we aren’t doing first grade homework).

Do you have a favorite quote or saying you would like to share?
“Out of suffering have emerged the strangest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” – Kahlil Gibran

JESSICA WHITTAKER
Position: Mental Health Community Case Manager
Department: Case Management
Years at NRVCS: 2 years

Please share a little about your background:
I grew up here in the I have lived here in New River Valley all my life. I currently live in Giles County. I have been married for 20 years and I am a mom of two wonderful teenage daughters. I have an Associate’s degree in social services and a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Before I came to work at NRVCS, I was a Head Start teacher for 12 years.

Why did you choose this particular career/job?
I chose this career because I love working with kids/adolescents and their families. While working with Head Start, we worked with the families to assist them in reaching their goals, and that was my favorite part of the job. Now I get to focus on working one-on-one with clients and their families to assist them in reaching their mental health goals.

What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
The most rewarding part of my job is being able to assist clients in setting goals, helping them figure out how to reach their goals, and being able to see the progress they make over time.

What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
That I have 7 nieces and nephew (ranging from age 1-21), 1 great nephew, and another great niece or nephew on the way.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family especially my kids and my nieces and nephews. We love having family game nights a few couple times a month.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying you would like to share?
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – The Lorax

TAYLOR JO THOMPSON, MSW
Position: Emergency Services Clinician
Department: Emergency Services
Years at NRVCS: Approximately 1 1/2 years

Please share a little about your background:
I’ve lived in Floyd County all of my life, including currently. I got two associates degrees from NRCC, then my BSW and MSW from Radford University. My prior experience has included internships with: Probation and Parole, New Horizons, the Bridge Program and VA Cares, a re-entry program for folks being released from prison. I also did an OP internship with NRVCS during my MSW year (one-year, advanced program).

Why did you choose this particular career/job?
I love the pace of ES (emergency services), and crisis work in general. I find that the challenges of the position are such that allow me to continue to grow and learn as a professional, as certainly no two days are alike. I find that I function well amidst the fast-paced interventions and do my best to bring a sense of calm to the storm that clients face when they interact with ES.

What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
I find it very rewarding to be given the opportunity to intervene and try to assist in points of peoples’ lives where they are in crisis, and it feels that there may be no light in the tunnel. My position allows me to redirect clients’ attention to the possibility that there are options, for treatment and the future in general, outside what they are able to grasp in the midst of the crisis.

What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I switched my major through nursing and criminal justice before I finally landed on social work as a profession and career choice.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Anything that allows me to be outside and feel the sunshine.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying you would like to share?
“How we walk with the broken speaks louder than how we sit with the great.”

TINA GRAHAM, RN
Position: Registered Nurse
Department: Psychiatric Services
Years at NRVCS: 9 months

Please share a little about your background:
I am a Blacksburg native, I currently reside in Giles County. I started out in Respiratory Therapy, bridged into nursing and then chose to obtain a Masters of Business Administration in Healthcare Management. I have been in nursing for around 12 years. I started out on PCU/ICU, transferred into Surgical Nursing, and have went between Psychiatric Nursing at a local state facility and working as an RN Case Manager in Home Health most recently.

Why did you choose this particular career/job?
I feel I have always known I was going to be in healthcare. I started out as a CNA and volunteer EMT as a teenager and have never worked in any other field.

I decided to come to NRVCS because I have always enjoyed working with the Psychiatric Clients but wanted to work more within the community I grew up in verses the inpatient setting. Having 2 small children the work/life balance and being close to home was an extra bonus!

What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
Listening to the clients, knowing that they trust us to help them through whatever their current struggles may be and seeing them come out on the other side of them in a better state.

What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I have never lived more than 5 miles from the New River for more than 2 weeks in my life.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Anything outdoors; four-wheeling, hunting, fishing, and kayaking are my favorite pastimes.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying you would like to share?
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but rising every time we fall.” – Confucius

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