by Mike Lee
Debra Moore, RN, didn’t sleep much the night before.
Her new job as clinical director of Oklahoma Hospice Care is a daunting one and keeps her busy.
But the award-winning nurse wouldn’t trade it for the world.
“I feel like I make a difference,” she said, just a few hours removed from sitting up most of the night with a dying patient and their family.
Moore became Oklahoma Hospice Care clinical director near the end of 2014, accepting a staff of more than 10.
“She’s just an amazing, charismatic leader,” says Jennifer Forrester, RT, community relations director. “People want to follow her and she takes ownership and the magnitude of responsibility for that position.”
Moore was the gem Oklahoma Hospice Care had been looking for.
And Moore is a firm believer that Oklahoma Hospice Care is poised for expansion. Oklahoma Hospice Care has offices in Oklahoma City and Shawnee with a radius stretching 50 miles from each office.
She floats the idea of one day having an inpatient hospital.
She’s never been one that dares to dream.
“Here I get the best of both worlds,” Moore said. “I still get to teach about oncology and I get to take care of patients because I’m not a behind-the-desk clinical director. I feel like the only way you’re going to lead something is if you have your hands on it and know what’s going on.”
Oklahoma Hospice Care is a Christian-principled organization specializing in caring for their patients and the patient’s families wherever they call home through personalized plans of care developed with input from the family physician, the hospice physician, the patient, the patient’s family and the members of the hospice interdisciplinary team.
Community Relations Representative Tori Aldridge sums up the task at hand nicely.
“Families invite us into their lives at their most vulnerable point,” Aldridge said. “We get one opportunity to take a tragic situation and make it bearable, even good. We aren’t there to focus on a person’s death. Instead, we focus on the remainder of their life.”
“We don’t speed up their disease process and we don’t slow it down. We go at their pace and do our best to minimize the surprises. The diagnosis and prognosis have been the most paramount surprises in their lives.”
Moore is a native of Oklahoma City. She obtained her nursing degree from Oklahoma City Community College in 1999. She began her nursing career at Presbyterian Hospital in the Med Surgery/Neurological Center and served as RN charge nurse.
Moore spent the next chapter of her career at Midwest Regional Hospital where during her tenure she worked as an oncology certified RN, manager of the Outpatient Oncology Center and finally director of inpatient and outpatient services.
She received the Nursing Award of Excellence in 2008 and the Spirit of Transformation Award in 2011 from the Oklahoma Hospital Association. She has also been an Ambassador for the United Way and served many years as team captain for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
Moore credits her mother, Anna Rose Wilson, for instilling love and compassion that has led her to be the woman and nurse she is today.
With five children and two grandchildren, Moore stays busy even when she’s not busy at work.
She exudes happiness. It’s hard to ever find her in a down mood. And that’s who she looks for when she hires.
“I was looking for caring, compassion and someone who didn’t mind hard work,” Moore said of the opportunity to hire new staff when she got the job. “I was looking for someone to go into the home when I couldn’t be there.
“As far as a clinical perspective you can have all the commercials and advertising you want but word-of-mouth and letting people see what we do, that tells it all right there,” she said. “We’re different because we all do actually care and that’s why I’m glad we handpick our people. We know the people we have working for us.”
And that’s a comfort for both Moore and her patients.
“I measure success by the patient saying ‘job well done,’” Moore said. “It’s simple. Being in this field and probably any field it just takes common sense. What would you want done for your mom? What would you want done for your grandmother? Whatever you would want done for them that’s what you do for the patient.”
And sometimes that means getting a few hours less sleep than she’s used to, like the night before.
“I asked (the family member) if we could have done anything else. She said ‘Debra, you guys were amazing,’” Moore said. “That’s what keeps us going. I got a couple hours of sleep last night but that’s what keeps me going. That’s what makes me not even care about sleep. I can wait until Friday.”