Xavier Magazine

Profile: Deborah Hayes

Bachelor of Science in Nursing, 1994
Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, The Christ Hospital

Calling Dr. Gannon | When Deborah Hayes was a little girl, she begged her father to let her stay up late on Wednesday nights to watch “Medical Center” on television. Sure, handsome actor Chad Everett who portrayed Dr. Joe Gannon may have been part of the reason, but there was a lot more. “I’ve been interested in health care since I was a child, and I was fascinated by that show,” says Hayes. “I’ve been working in health care in some capacity since I was 16 years old.” While in high school, Hayes worked part-time at the Mt. Notre Dame convent infirmary. She also was a nurse’s aide at a nursing home. “I just loved being with the patients,” she says.

Commitment | Hayes received a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree in biology from the University of Cincinnati, and followed that with a diploma from The Christ Hospital School of Nursing and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Xavier. The 46-year-old registered nurse began her professional career at The Christ Hospital in 1987 and has risen steadily through the ranks of the hospital, becoming chief nursing officer in 2003.

Bedside Technology | In 2007, Hayes took on additional duties of chief information officer when the hospital shed membership in a health group and had to convert all its information technology systems. Acquiring such expertise led to another role—teaching advanced informatics to students pursuing a master’s degree in Xavier’s clinical nurse leader program. “You never know where the path may lead you in your career,” she says. “What a wonderful opportunity. Bringing technology to the bedside to help nurses and others in health care do their job better is a passion of mine.”

Cutting Health Care Costs | President Obama’s push to convert paper medical records to a universal electronic system has Hayes’ full support. “I believe that we as a society have a responsibility to change the outcomes for our patients and their families,” she says. “I don’t mean that disparagingly because health care in the United States is fabulous. However, it can be better. And I believe that bringing technology to bear on health care will help us do that. It will help improve safety and reduce costs. In improving the information exchange among health care providers, it will improve the efficiencies of staffs. The opportunity to assist in the transformation, from an educational standpoint and an implementation standpoint, is something I believe in very strongly.”

Distance Learning | Hayes is also using advanced technology in her teaching. Besides her classroom students, she also has students more than 100 miles away in a conference room at Fairview Hospital in Lancaster, Ohio, linked via a two-way video and audio system. “What a fabulous way to bring the technological expertise and educational resources to a group of individuals who would probably never have the opportunity to pursue a degree at Xavier unless they picked up and moved to Cincinnati,” says Hayes.

Terrific Tandem | The combination of supervising nurses and teaching delights Hayes. “I have a fabulous job,” she says. “Every day I get to help make a difference in patients’ lives in their most vulnerable moments. I get to help them have an experience that exceeds their expectations. And that’s hard to do when patients don’t feel good and they’re worried and concerned. Every day I’m involved in the extraordinary things that people do to make sure patients and their families are well served.”

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