by Mike Lee
Nurses are doers. Not many people will argue with that.
So when Debbie Kifer, MSN, RN set foot on campus as the new chief nursing officer at Midwest Regional Medical Center you probably would have imagined she would hit the ground running.
Instead, she hit the ground listening.
“It’s all a process,” Kifer says. “You don’t want to force anything on anyone and there’s ways to do that through quality methodologies. When you break down processes in any system it’s important to bring them along in the process and get their direct input.
“I’m really big on … seeking out the direct care nurses.”
Care, compassion, respect, dignity - all are hallmarks of what Kifer believes good nurses are and should be.
And she believes nurses are also where the best ideas come from. Shared governance councils have popped up at hospitals around the country in the last decade. Kifer believes it’s vital for direct care nurses to have input in groups like that but in more situations than just a monthly meeting.
“Honestly, they have some of the best solutions out there,” Kifer says. “And some of them are easy fixes. It just goes to show how important it is to have a team concept with the work we do. Team is everything.”
Kifer has more than 30 years of nursing leadership experience and brings a diverse clinical background to Midwest Regional.
With a son in Edmond, Kifer said the move from Clinton was good from a personal standpoint as well.
“This is a larger facility and I’m used to a larger facility,” Kifer says.
Kifer is highly trained in quality methodologies such as LEAN and previously served as Chief Nursing Officer in several acute care hospitals, held executive leadership roles in quality management, infection control, core measures, risk management and patient satisfaction. Trained as a cardiac,intensive care & post-op transplant nurse, Kifer has also managed home health, women’s & children’s services, infusion services, and medical-surgical units.
“We’re thrilled to have Kifer join our leadership team,” said Stan Holm, CEO. “She is the kind of experienced leader our hospital needs to continually provide the best quality patient care possible.”
Kifer is set to lead the nursing staff at Midwest Regional Medical Center. Located in Midwest City on the eastern edge of Oklahoma City, the 255-bed acute care facility owned and operated by Health Management Associates, Inc. (HMA) has steadily increased its reputation throughout the years.
With nearly 300 primary care and specialty physicians on the medical staff, patients have access to a full spectrum of healthcare expertise including cardiac services, pulmonology, orthopedics, internal medicine, OB/GYN and urology.
Additionally, Midwest Regional has Oklahoma’s most experienced robotic-assisted surgical team, giving patients greater precision, less pain, smaller incisions and faster recovery.
“I’ve spent a lot of time designing positive patient experiences,” Kifer says. “That is truly where nursing needs to go. There’s a great team here with very compassionate nurses and leaders who have been here awhile. I want to instill passionate leadership to help foster that sense of purpose out there with nurses.”
Kifer received her undergraduate degree in nursing from Baylor University and received a Masters in Nursing from the University of Phoenix in Phoenix, AZ. She is a member of the Oklahoma Hospital Association, the American Nurses Association, the Oklahoma Nurses Association, and the Oklahoma Organization for Nurse Executives.
“I think we’re really focused on what the customer is telling us,” Kifer said. “We’re bringing in information from day-to-day activities and from our community leaders.”
Bringing that focus to a community hospital is Kifer’s short and long-term goal.
“We’re asking the patients what would make it better. What do you think? What do you notice, the good, bad and ugly kind of thing,” Kifer says.
While it may be a community hospital
“I think it’s a great place to work,” Kifer said. “During Nurses Week, I told them I was the new kid on the block but I wanted to know how it was going for them. Overwhelmingly I heard satisfaction, morale was good, they felt like they were giving good patient care and they were staffed well.
“That is a blessing … to have direct care nurses that feel a sense of satisfaction and feel they’re giving good care.”
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. In the midst of taking a new job and moving into a new office, Kifer also attended her son’s wedding.
She’s already started planning her daughter’s nuptials in September.
If she makes it through this year she says she’ll be doing a good job.
If she keeps listening to her nurses, she says Midwest Regional will be doing even better.
Debbie Kifer, MSN, RN, wants patients to have the best possible experience when they come to Midwest Regional Medical Center.