Bringing up baby

Published 8:15 pm Thursday, September 11, 2008

Darla Poole looks like the mothering type, so the badge hanging from her neck identifying her as the director of Andalusia Regional Hospital’s birth center should come as no surprise.

The 30-year veteran of women’s health care, who is a Troy resident, was named to her post at ARH in January and since then has loved every minute she has spent on the OB floor at the hospital.

“The thing about women’s health that is so interesting is that the field is so vast,” Poole said. “It’s just not about labor and delivery. There’s the clinical aspect of things. The people that you meet are so different. It’s a great job to have.”

Poole, who is a registered nurse by trade, began her career in the health field as a labor and delivery nurse at a private hospital in Texas before transferring to the community hospital located next to Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

“I had the good fortune to work with some very talented people at a teaching hospital,” she said. “By the time I left there, I had worked my way up to being the director of women’s services where I oversaw the programs and clinical services as related to women’s health.”

One might wonder how a nurse in Texas made her way to Andalusia? Why, love, of course.

Poole met and married her husband of 15-years, Steve, who is originally from Mossy Head, Fla. Steve worked in Texas, overseeing building construction at the hospital. From there, the couple moved to Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., for Steve’s contracting business. Poole worked in several management positions at the Okaloosa County Health Department until the rising cost of homeowners insurance and the hurricanes prompted the couple to relocate to Troy.

“We chose this area for its beauty and potential for growth for Steve’s business,” she said. “And we haven’t regretted it.”

Poole took a job as the manager of Troy Hospital’s labor and delivery department, but after seven short months on the job, hospital officials made the decision to close the unit.

“I guess you could say I was blessed by misfortune,” she said. “When we got the news the unit was going to close, it wasn’t long after that I heard this position was open. It has been a great experience here.”

Poole said the community is extremely lucky to have such a health care facility here as ARH.

“They are really supportive of their nurses and their community,” she said. “The hospital is dedicated to making sure each member of its nursing staff is as fully trained as they can be.”

Poole said she, and others in the nursing field, often say labor and delivery is one of the best aspects of the nursing profession.

“That is one of the most happy times in a family’s life — when they’re going to have a baby,” she said. “Oftentimes, especially with new mothers, we nurses get to teach them how to be a mother to their new baby, to bring out those nurturing qualities. It’s the most rewarding experience to realize what kind of impact you can have on a family’s life.”

Poole currently manages a staff of approximately 15, consisting of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants.