Hill's Side

Each day we are bombarded by all types of media with reports about the safety and quality of patient care. Too much of the time, the reports in newspapers and magazines, on television, radio, and the Internet and in our scholarly journals and health care publications are negative and convey bad news. Yet some of the time, it’s positive and here at Hopkins we are working hard to ensure we are part of the patient safety and quality care good news.

We have long been in the vanguard of schools and hospitals addressing these critical issues and learned early on that teamwork must be part of the equation for patient safety and quality. Where else but at Hopkins can you find such an ideal culture for cultivating that teamwork? Within one block we have not only the No. 1 teaching hospital in the nation, but also three U.S. News & World Report top-ranked schools of nursing, medicine, and public health. We are the only academic health center in the U.S. with this powerful combination.

Early this year, we used that proximity and intellectual capital to develop and implement a safety and quality of care course for nursing, medicine, and public health students. An interdisciplinary team of nurses and physicians from the Schools of Nursing and Medicine — Drs. Jo Walrath, Cheryl Dennison, and Peter Provonost — designed and directed “Quality, Safety, and Interdisciplinary Teamwork in Healthcare Settings.” Their delivery of the course at the 2004 January intersession met with rave reviews, particularly among physician students who said they wished the course had been presented earlier in their training.

We’ll follow that outstanding success early next year (February 27-March 3, 2005) with the launch of a new Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing Patient Safety Academy, “Building Nursing Capacity for Safety Initiatives.” This program offers a unique skill-building opportunity for the nurses who will become safety champions and lead the interdisciplinary safety initiatives in their workplaces.

There’s more good news. Just as we go to print with this issue of Johns Hopkins Nursing, we have received word that Johns Hopkins has been selected as one of five recipients of a safety and quality-oriented ACT (Achieving Competence Today) grant sponsored by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Association of Medical Colleges, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded Partnership for Quality Education. The grant funds an innovative approach to jointly training—in the hospital setting—graduate level nursing students and surgical, anesthesiology, and critical care residents in quality and safety leadership skills. These physician-nurse pairs will become the leaders of teams charged with the design and implementation of care for our most critically ill patients. Ultimately, they will carry out the Hopkins mantra described by the dean of the School of Medicine and hospital CEO Ed Miller, “When providing quality and safe patient care, good is never good enough.”

Stay tuned. We’ve set our sights high, and we’ve only just begun. Watch for more news about future initiatives and our goal to build within the School of Nursing a standard of excellence that carries quality and safety of patient care to new heights. As Johns Hopkins University President William R. Brody emphasized in his 1997 inaugural speech, “Our friends and neighbors from around the block and around the world will continue to look to us [the Hopkins health enterprise] for the very best in the science and humanity of health care. We shall not let them down.”

Martha N. Hill, PhD, RN, FAAN ’64 Dean

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