Deb Schuerman, NP wears many hats at the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis (VNA), but what has remained consistent during her brief tenure as a VNA employee is her passion for keeping both patients and staff safe during COVID-19 as Infection Control Nurse Practitioner.
Originally from DeKalb, Illinois, Deb moved to St. Louis in the mid-90s after her husband accepted a job as a physician with Group Health Plan. She was working on her career as well, and just before moving, she began a Master’s degree program in nursing. She ended up at St. Louis University (SLU) to finish her degree, and after a few years, she graduated and became a board certified nurse practitioner.
Deb’s engagement with the VNA came well before becoming a team member. In 2011, she served as an advisor on the Patient Services Committee. She was teaching at SLU at the time and was asked to join by the head of the committee. Deb loved the people and the work of the committee, and she served for several years.
She reconnected with the VNA in the summer of 2020 after being furloughed from her nurse practitioner job. Deb approached VNA President and CEO Nesa Joseph about open volunteer positions she could help fill. VNA was pleased to have her, and she volunteered until December 2020. It was then that Nesa offered her a paid position to help with infection control services.
As Infection Control Nurse Practitioner, Deb oversees COVID-19 testing and tracking for employees, helps determine PPE best practices, fills in for vaccination clinics and does administrative work for the AIM program as needed. “Nesa saw that I could wear a few different hats, and I’m happy to wear them to assist the organization wherever I can,” says Deb.
Deb’s favorite part about the job is engaging with new people. “Being around people again, especially during COVID-19, is my favorite part of my job,” says Deb. “Especially the staff [at VNA]. Everyone really believes in what we’re trying to accomplish here.” Deb also is proud to be a part of the COVID-19 vaccination effort in St. Louis. “To be involved in the vaccination process is so rewarding. I know I will always remember that.”
VNA is thankful for Deb’s contribution to the agency’s COVID-19 response. Her expertise will play a critical role in future community vaccination sites as well.