Alison Owens, BS, RN
Program: MSN Health Systems Management
Through Their Eyes
“I wanted to have the opportunity to make an impact.”
In 2014, Alison Owens has two reasons to celebrate: It’s her 30-year anniversary as a Hopkins nurse and she’ll have earned her master’s degree in health systems management.
Owens came to The Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1984 for her bachelor’s-level practicum. “Once I started working in the hospital, I loved cardiology, I loved the environment, I really did love everything about it,” she says. She started working in a telemetry unit and has been on her way to nursing leadership at Johns Hopkins ever since.
In the mid-‘90s, she helped develop—and then enthusiastically stepped into—the brand-new position of patient care coordinator. “I wanted to have the opportunity to make a big impact. That’s my passion: process improvement, quality improvement, looking at our current practices and improving upon them,” she says.
In 2009, a flier for the School of Nursing caught her eye. “I’ve always loved to learn, so I decided to apply,” she says. She started taking classes that she found interesting, but when she was offered a new career opportunity—one that required a master’s degree—she started working toward a master’s in health systems management.
“The program is absolutely fantastic. It’s been very applicable to my job as a nurse, a coordinator, and a leader. I’ve been able to immediately apply knowledge and skills that I’ve learned in my classes to my job and my role,” she says.
One example: Owens’ statistics professor encouraged her to analyze data from a quality improvement project in the MRI anesthesia department. “We did some testing, submitted a paper, and even won the Johns Hopkins Nursing Excellence Award in 2013,” she says proudly.
Today, Owens heads a team of 10 patient care coordinators in the radiology department. She not only supervises, but also still gets to do some hands-on coordination (“which I love to do”) and spearheads larger projects, such as improving patient flow or facilitating the unit’s move into a new building.
“At Johns Hopkins, we’re always expanding, growing, changing, improving,” Owens says. “I really look forward to participating in—and even leading—some of those efforts.”