Debby Truster’s career truly embodies a lifelong commitment to our ministry’s Mission. Debby was a registered nurse with us for 47 years before her retirement in 2017. She then immediately rejoined the ministry as a volunteer.
Back to the beginning of Debby’s nursing career, she earned her associate nursing degree from Miami University in 1971.
“Many of my clinicals were at Mercy Hamilton Hospital, including what was to become my love of labor and delivery as well as caring for women and families birthing babies,” she recalls. “I had received a scholarship from Fort Hamilton Hospital, so I began my career in obstetrics there.”
In 1974, her husband’s job brought them to Clermont County, which, Debby shares, was too far of a drive in those days from Butler County.
“I interviewed for a nursing position at both the new Mercy Health – Clermont Hospital and at Our Lady of Mercy Hospital in Mariemont,” she continues. “I began my career with Our Lady of Mercy Hospital in March of 1974 in the labor and delivery unit.”
Debby’s teammates at Our Lady of Mercy Hospital made her feel right at home.
“The changes I have seen in perinatal nursing are almost unbelievable,” she says. “Many people think that the maternity unit in any hospital is the happiest place to work, and it is, until it’s not. But the people I worked with took me in and nurtured me as a young nurse and helped me grow as a nurse and a woman.”
She continues, “I knew that Mercy was my hospital system because of the caring, loving way perinatal loss was handled. We’ve learned a lot over the years of ways to support families with loss, but in the early days of my career, little was known. What I saw one night was staff loving, caring and working together to comfort and support a young family with their loss. I have never forgotten.”
In 1998, Debby’s labor and delivery unit moved to Mercy Health – Anderson Hospital, becoming the first labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum unit in the Cincinnati area.
“I was so excited and proud to be a part of that move, and the challenges as well as the opportunities that it brought to me,” Debby shares. “The ministry supported me with educational opportunities and career advancement. I was now a perinatal nurse; I had a certification in obstetrics and fetal monitoring, precepted new nurses to labor and delivery, taught classes, was a staff educator and even for a few years tried my hand at management.”
In the end, though, Debby returned to her first love: laboring women and families. She remained a labor and delivery nurse until she retired in December of 2017.
But like we shared earlier, Debby couldn’t stay away for long.
She rejoined the ministry after retirement as a volunteer, doing tours of the family birth center at Anderson Hospital. She did this until 2020, when all volunteer work had to pause during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Then, in July of 2020, Debby lost her husband of 47 years to cancer.
“After Gary’s death, I was in a fog,” she says. “I needed something to do. What do you do with a retired labor and delivery nurse during a pandemic?”
Her answer? Return to our ministry to provide care for others.
Debby came back to Mercy Health first to help administer the COVID-19 vaccine to our team members. Later, she helped with the Mercy Health – Clermont Hospital community COVID-19 vaccine clinic.
Debby particularly credits Sandra Hugueley, vice president of nursing at Clermont Hospital, for making her feel at home.
“I was needed more at Clermont Hospital in the early days of the vaccine – that was when I met Sandra. She was new to Clermont Hospital, too. She welcomed me and made me feel part of the team from the first day. We closed the COVID-19 vaccine clinic in February of last year, but I’m still here. Sandra has continued to find opportunities for me, ways that I can feel helpful.”
Debby says that the team at Clermont Hospital is now her hospital family, and she is very grateful to them.
“I have two children and three grandchildren, and they are my blessings and I thank God for them every day. But I also thank God for the staff at Mercy Health. I’ve met so many wonderful people here. They have taken me in and nurtured my need to feel needed.”
Learn more about the maternity care services we provide at Mercy Health.