Deborah Jones, the longtime director of obstetrical nursing at UR Medicine Thompson Health Hospital, has dedicated 45 years of her life to the field of nursing, spending three of those decades focused on the health and well being of women and infants.
“In addition to being an exceptional leader, she is a pleasant and personable, well-rounded individual,” says Stephanie Friel, Thompson Health quality improvement coordinator. “She has a great sense of humor and is very receptive to new ideas, continually finding ways to offer our patients an even higher level of care.”
Jones led the effort to establish the Thompson Hospital Birthing Center, where she supervises a staff of 36 people, as a place where superior quality and compassionate, hands-on care coexist. “Deborah has endless energy – as well as creativity – and is one of life’s optimists,” says Hazel Robertshaw, vice president of patient care services, says Jones is the epitome of a professional. “She rises to every challenge I put her way.”
Jones’ professional accomplishments include playing a key role in Thompson Hospital achieving Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center in 2004, 2010, and 2015. She also guided the birthing center to receive Perinatal Care Advanced Certification from The Joint Commission, the premier healthcare quality improvement and accrediting body in the nation. This followed a rigorous, intensive, on-site review in 2016. Thompson was one of 18 hospitals in the U.S. to achieve this designation, and it remains the only certified hospital in Upstate New York.
Jones, a West Irondequoit native who lives in Italy, Yates County, is a staunch supporter of her team, always looking to put the people with whom she works in a better position to advance their careers. “The profession of nursing has endless possibilities for choosing a venue that is personally fulfilling and allows for a proper work-life balance,” Jones says. “I have always encouraged my staff to reach for the stars, even if it means they move on from Thompson. Thankfully, many of them find the stars are right here in the birthing center.”
Longtime birthing center nurse, Susan McCarthy, describes Jones as a transformational leader who has a talent to inspire others to reach for their highest potential. “Deb has the uncanny ability to identify strengths in her staff that they did not know they possessed,” McCarthy says.
While the end of her career is within sight, Jones still has goals to achieve.
“As I think about retirement, still a few years down the road, I reflect on what we have achieved as a unit in the 15 years that I have been the director,” she says. “Thompson’s birthing center is an extraordinary place, where dedication to quality, safety, and compassionate care come together. My goal, for myself, and for my unit, is to provide a smooth transition to talented new leadership that will preserve the qualities that make the birthing center such a special place.”