How do I gain access to healthcare and navigate such a complex system? These are questions Debbie Jennings is helping people answer. As a nurse for over 20 years, Debbie has worked in a variety of settings throughout healthcare.
Primarily concentrating in administration, Debbie’s specialties include interdisciplinary team collaboration, process improvement, throughput, leading teams, regulatory compliance, finance, and education. One common theme she noticed throughout her career is a lack of awareness around navigating the healthcare system. While working on her Doctorate of Nursing Practice at Texas Tech University she designed healthcare workshops for youth who have aged out of the foster system teaching them critical life skills including how to read an insurance card, make a doctor’s appointment, communicate with physicians, understanding their medications, and becoming their own medical consenter.
These workshops are tailored to meet the audience where needed. Healthcare access can be terrifying to navigate for youth who are struggling to understand their basic needs. Debbie’s passion is ensuring youth not only understand their healthcare but know how to access it. Speaking on this topic at the American Public Health Association in 2021, Debbie presented on a panel discussing Improving Healthcare Access in Youth Aging out of Foster Care.
As an adjunct assistant professor at UT Health San Antonio, Debbie teaches Healthcare Economics and Policy to future nurse practitioners. One primary objective for her students is to understand the health insurance system and how decisions we make as healthcare workers not only impact the patient we care for but social determinants of health in our community.
Outside of work, she volunteers with Child Advocates San Antonio, Texas Nurses Association, and South Texas Medical Corps.
Her favorite things in the world are her 25-year-old son, working in the yard, hosting dinner parties, watching football, and her 2-year-old Lab mix.