The Iris Spotlight: Meet Dena Wampler

Dena Wampler was 42 when she went back to school to become a nurse practitioner. She’d just had her son, Tucker, and was working an easy retail job to get her by -- but she had a passion for taking care of people that she wanted to put into action.

“Everything lined up like it was supposed to,” Dena said in her smooth-as-honey southern accent. “It was pretty phenomenal.”

She originally started going back to school to become a biology teacher, but then a handful of her friends suggested she become a nurse practitioner. Dena was accepted into the program at Vanderbilt and loved working with psych. Before working with Spectrum, she spent nearly five years at a local clinic near her home in Hendersonville, TN.

Dena Wampler mental health

In her spare time, she hangs out with her 12-year-old son, who’s a Boy Scout and loves all things outdoors. She also likes creating detailed beadwork, specifically beaded amulet bags. And she’s an animal person, to boot: She has a cockatiel named Nash, a hermit crab named Crabby, and a chihuahua named Bella.

“Bella is chubby and she loves fried pork rinds,” Dena said. “The only kind she likes are the Louisiana Hot Sauce ones.”

Dena believes that providing quality patient care means entering into a partnership with her patients.

“I tell them that all the time,” she said. “This is a partnership so I’m going to ask you what you want to do, guide you in certain ways, and will tell you no even if you don’t agree. All I want for my patients is for them to have a better quality of life.”

Dena Wampler telepsychiatry

Dena has found that creating that partnership via telepsychiatry is very similar to in-person care. In fact, she said there’s only one difference:

“The only thing you can’t do is hug them,” she said. “But with some of my patients, I tell them I’m giving them a virtual hug and hug the camera!”

Vanessa Daves is the marketing coordinator for Iris Telehealth.