“Deb truly cares for her staff and her patients, and, in turn, her staff and the physicians highly regard and respect her,” says Dawn Magiera, an executive assistant at Methodist who worked with VanWoerden for five years. “She has often been seen coming in early in the morning to visit with her midnight shift and rounding on her patients, then leaving late to make sure she sees everyone again. She truly models the statement ‘every patient, every day.’”
“One of my biggest joys is making rounds every day and hearing patients tell me how wonderful my staff is — it just makes me feel so grateful,” VanWoerden said. “I know I have the best nurses, and I’m so proud when other people see it for themselves.”
VanWoerden’s pride in her staff, her hospital and the nursing profession in general has only increased in the coronavirus pandemic, with everyone pulling together and stepping up to confront new challenges and extraordinary circumstances without losing sight of the most important aspect of the crisis — the health and well-being of the patients in their care.
“This pandemic has only served to remind me that nursing is a strong profession and nothing will knock us down,” she says. “We have pulled together as a team, and I am so proud to be associated with this organization and its phenomenal leadership through this crisis.”
As she continues to focus on developments with the virus while maintaining the day-to-day leadership of her staff, VanWoerden, a certified medical-surgical registered nurse, is working toward finishing her master’s degree by the end of this year, with plans to further her career in nursing leadership or perhaps get into teaching at the university level. Regardless of which step she takes next, however, her love of nursing and her lifelong dedication to patient care will continue to guide her going forward.