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Healthcare Icon Tours Namesake Nursing Excellence Center at Harris Health System

HOUSTON (Oct. 20, 2022) — When Lois J. Moore walked into her namesake facility at Harris Health System, she noticed a big difference. Gone were the rows of seats and cubicle spaces when it was a building used by patients to register or update personal information to obtain medical services from the public healthcare system.
In its place, a transformed 10,000-square foot facility now housing classrooms, a computer lab, a conference room and a simulation center as part of the new Lois J. Moore Center for Nursing Excellence—a facility helping Harris Health educate its current and future nurses.

“I still remember it so differently, but this is very impressive," Moore said during her first visit in early October to the renovated location. “I wish this kind of center was around when I started my nursing career. It will allow Harris Health to continue educating nurses and improve the care of patients."

The simulation center features near-realistic hospital rooms with beds and medical equipment. The settings help nurses build competence in managing patients with severe and complex illnesses, drill for emergency preparedness and learn new treatments and procedures. Additionally, participants can use virtual reality goggles to train on a variety of real-patient and clinical case scenarios. The new space can accommodate up to 130 nurses at a time. 

While the center focuses on nursing, Lourie Moore (no relation to Lois J. Moore), DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, CPHQ, LSSGB, associate administrator, Nursing Excellence, Quality and Patient Safety, Harris Health, is excited about how different staff can work together to develop more effective communication, coordination and collaboration. 

"We'll be able to do team training with our nurses and physicians, as well as other allied staff like respiratory therapists," she says. “Through simulation, we can increase patient safety and learning in a safe environment." 

Additionally, the center houses Harris Health's executive nursing practice group, which includes the divisions of nursing professional development, nursing practice and nursing quality. 

Harris Health already has established high standards for nursing practices evident by the American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet® designations at both of its hospitals—Ben Taub and Lyndon B. Johnson. These designations are among the most prestigious and signify an elite-level of nursing practices and patient care. 

Jackie Brock, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, TCRN, executive vice president and chief nursing executive, Harris Health, calls the new center an invaluable tool to retain talented nurses and recruit others. 

“If you want to grow your nursing profession, Harris Health is the place for you," she says. “We're going to be competitive with others when it comes to salaries and benefits, but our experience and the opportunities for education and advancement are boundless."

The Lois J. Moore Center for Nursing Excellence replaces the Lois J. Moore Eligibility Center that during the COVID pandemic shut down because of safety practices employed to prevent transmission of the virus. Harris Health has moved much of its patient registration and updating of eligibility criteria to a virtual platform.

Moore, who bears the name of center, is a healthcare and medical pioneer starting her career as a nurse in the 1950s. Her association with Harris Health predates the start of the system in 1966 when she worked as an emergency nurse at Ben Taub Hospital before working her way up to become president and CEO of the system in 1989. At the time, she became the first African American and first female administrator of a major healthcare system in the Texas Medical Center. Under her leadership, she led the opening of what are today Ben Taub and Lyndon B. Johnson hospitals. She left as CEO in 1999, but continues in other healthcare leadership roles in Houston.