Deborah Baker: A Leader During COVID-19

Deborah Baker: A Leader During COVID-19

A tribute from Dean Patricia Davidson to Dr. Deborah Baker 

Dr. Deborah Baker and Dean Patricia Davidson
Dr. Deborah Baker and Dean Patricia Davidson

Watch the recording of “Reflections of a CNO During a Pandemic.” It’s the first in a series of virtual grand rounds offered by the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.

This is the “Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.” Little did we know that COVID-19 would define 2020 and the devastating impact it would have on individuals, families, communities, and our global community. Never before have strong leaders been so important and this is particularly the case in nursing. In a moment of international crisis, our leaders are of critical importance, modeling an unwavering commitment to excellence and their people. We want to recognize one of these leaders—Deborah Baker, DNP, RN, ACNP, NEA-BC.

Dr. Baker is Senior Vice President for Nursing for the Johns Hopkins Health System and Vice President of Nursing and Patient Care Services for Johns Hopkins Hospital, two crucial and impressive roles. Since the start of the pandemic, she has been a key contributor to the Johns Hopkins Health System Incident Command Team; she also deals with the pandemic across the state of Maryland. She rose to the many challenges of a pandemic, including converting and staffing hospital spaces for COVID-19 readiness, developing personal protective equipment safety procedures for patients and nursing staff, and caring for the physical and mental well-being of over 12,000 nurses in the Johns Hopkins Health System. A formidable task.

“Effective leaders have the courage and provide the vision required to foster the pursuit of excellence; they inspire and motivate, counsel and coach colleagues, and draw out the best in those they lead” (Daly et al., 2020). Our founder Isabel Hampton Robb added, “nurses are trusted with the most precious thing on earth: the life, health and happiness of other human beings.” All around the world nurses have had to face the most challenging of circumstances to care not only for their patients, but also for their colleagues.

Dr. Baker serves as the Associate Dean for Health Systems Partnership and Innovation at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, helping us develop the next generation of nurses as well as developing innovation and responsive models to care.

She is truly a Hopkins nurse—she earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, and epitomizes the leadership we encourage. We are so grateful for her, and look forward to her reflections on leadership in a pandemic.

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