Many Faces of UTHealth: Jones believes in innovation and collaboration

Published: May 18, 2016 by Edgar Veliz

Deborah Jones, Ph.D., M.S., R.N., believes the climate of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Nursing is perfect for innovative thinkers and people who have the desire and drive to make impactful contributions to health care.

“I find there are numerous opportunities to contribute and collaborate that are just not found in many other places,” said Jones, UTHealth School of Nursing associate dean for professional development and faculty affairs and assistant dean and department chair in nursing systems.

Deborah J Jones, Ph.D., M.S., R.N.
Associate Dean for Professional Development and Faculty Affairs
Assistant Dean and Department Chair, Nursing Systems
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Nursing

What is something you wish people knew about your department/area of work?

Our School of Nursing faculty are expert educators, brilliant scientists and competent clinicians. They make contributions to so many aspects of health and health care across the globe but because they are motivated by altruistic reasons, they do it humbly. I have to bug them constantly to let me know about accomplishments, because I think it is important to recognize and appreciate them for what they love to do and do so well.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

My greatest professional accomplishment at this time is to have obtained my Ph.D. at a relatively early age, because this has opened up doors for me to have a wider span of influence and many years to capitalize on this influence. It has also provided me the tools that I need to make a difference in the lives of others. For instance, I am proud of my contributions to research that have led to new knowledge in oral health and systemic health in mechanically ventilated adults, in fact this work is one of three studies cited by the Institute of Healthcare Improvement and used to develop the nationally known ventilator-associated pneumonia bundle.

What brought you to UTHealth?

I came to UTHealth immediately after completing my doctoral program. While in the program I met two faculty from the School of Nursing at a national nursing research conference and over lunch they convinced me to at least consider UTHealth. Coincidently enough, one of those faculty at the time is now our new dean. I fell in love with the Texas Medical Center when I visited and was so impressed with the work being done in the Pre-Clinical Critical Care Lab at the school by Dr. Sandy Hanneman that I knew I had to join this team of faculty.

What is something very few people know about you?

Very few people know that I was a pretty good athlete in my younger years. I played softball beginning in grade school and through most of high school and won a few related awards.

What is the most interesting thing about your job?

I love the variety in my job. For example, I love the ability to start the day with planning department goals or upcoming faculty development, by mid-day I can be delivering a lecture to eager, dynamic nursing students, and by the end of that same day I can be in the hospital collecting data on my research grant. I love it.

What is one thing that is still on your bucket list?

One thing still on my bucket list is to send my parents on an all-expense paid trip to the destination of their choice. It will make me happy to do this for them.

Describe your perfect Saturday.

My perfect Saturday would be to take a spontaneous day trip with my husband and a few friends to a warm, sunny location. Good conversation, good company, beautiful weather and lovely scenery.