University of West Georgia nursing alumna Cindy Moore ’11 was born with a penchant for helping others. As the nurse manager for Carroll County in the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), she has been on the front lines of COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts for more than a year.
Moore is not only helping to lead the cause to end the pandemic, though: she is currently working toward her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) at UWG’s Tanner Health System School of Nursing and will graduate next month. The university made re-enrolling effortless, and the program fits her needs perfectly, Moore said.
“Coming back was very easy,” she said. “The staff made enrolling simple and answered all of my questions. The MSN courses really work for people who have full-time jobs and children.”
Moore’s desire to become a nurse dates back to her childhood when her grandfather required hospice care toward the end of his life.
“Seeing the hospice nurses would always brighten his day even though he was in so much pain,” Moore said. “It made me want to go into the nursing field. I wanted to be able to make people feel that way.”
When it was time for Moore to attend college, she turned to UWG for the training she knew would give her an edge in the nursing profession.
“When I was working on my undergraduate degree, all of the professors were always so nice and helpful,” she said. “They always wanted you to know they were there for you, and it was quickly evident they wanted to go above and beyond for their students.”
After graduating, she worked for Tanner Health System as a registered nurse (RN) on a medical-surgical floor and later worked for Tanner Home Health, eventually applying for an RN position with DPH at the Carroll County Health Department location.
“After I worked there for a little while, I realized it was really where I wanted to be,” she said. “I had found my specialty.”
After four years working as a nurse in the clinic, she was offered and accepted her current position of county nurse manager, a role she loves. When Moore returned to UWG in fall 2019 to begin work on her MSN, she had no idea a global pandemic would reshape the landscape of her work.
“COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into what our daily lives are like here,” she said. “We’ve been busier here than we ever have since I began working in public health. It’s made us be even more mindful of infection control, and physical distancing and wearing masks have been an adjustment.”
When tests initially became available for COVID-19, Moore and her team established and operated a testing site at the county health department. In January, when the first vaccines arrived locally, she managed the vaccination points of distribution, first at a temporary drive-through clinic at University Stadium and later at an indoor clinic at the Carroll County Recreation Department.
"I am incredibly grateful for the staff at the Carroll County Health Department, as well as the UWG staff in nursing, emergency management and police, and for all of the support we received from Carroll County public safety," Moore said.
Although it has been an intense experience, Moore said she is never lost on the fact that it is all for the greater good.
“It’s stressful at times, but it’s worked out well,” she said. “The overall experience has been very positive. We know we’re doing our part for the health of the community, and people are so thankful and happy to get it.”