The Handoff Is Here

The Handoff Is Here

Quite recently, Dean Patricia Davidson reminded us that life is a series of handoffs.

Now that the whirlwind of digital farewells has come to a close, the time for the handoff is here.


Pause for a moment and consider what a handoff is: the transferal of responsibilities of leadership from one person to another. In a handoff you communicate what has happened, as well as the trends on the horizon. Dean Davidson has been the champion of Johns Hopkins School of Nursing since 2013—so there’s a lot to hand over! Here’s a snapshot of some highlights, and the future of where they’re headed.


Top-Ranked Research and Scholarship

In 2021, U.S. News & World Report named Johns Hopkins School of Nursing the no. 1 school of nursing (for the fourth time in a row), and the National Institutes of Health remarked that we rank no. 1 among schools of nursing in funding they have awarded.

Dean Davidson enhanced our investment in, and promotion of nurse-led research, for example creating the Office of Science and Innovation. Her tenure oversaw the transition to an all-graduate curriculum, with the introduction of the MSN (Entry Into Nursing) program, the DNP Advanced Practice track, which rolled out the Nurse Anesthesia program and raised the nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist programs from master’s to DNP level, and brought us the DNP/MPH, DNP/MBA, and DNP/PhD dual degrees.


On the Horizon

A champion of nurses as “full partners on the health care team” and of approaches to care that are informed by real-world conditions, Dean Patricia Davidson sees on nursing’s horizon:

  • An interprofessional learning approach;
  • An investment in academic nursing;
  • Centering multimorbidity in approaches to care;
  • Advancing value-based care.

Philanthropy Matters

Dean Davidson secured the largest scholarship gifts made in our school’s history. Overall, fundraising has ramped up, resulting in an 81 percent increase in scholarship funding, significant investment in research, and in our new building.

Four of Johns Hopkins School of Nursing’s nine endowed chairs were established and funded under Dean Davidson’s tenure; she has appointed nine endowed chairs in total (including new chairs when professors retire).


Here are three recently appointed endowed chairs:

Alumni & Giving


Building for Johns Hopkins Nursing

Perhaps the most visible monument to Dean Davidson’s tenure is a five-story, 41,000 square foot steel and glass addition. The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing broke ground in 2018, reflecting the drive to deliver excellent, innovative nursing education. In the post COVID-19 era, we have reached a critical moment in higher education—when our investment in technology-enabled infrastructure, like online learning and virtual simulation, has become non-negotiable.

The addition represents an investment in Hopkins nurses of the future, with a space for interprofessional teams to dive into an ambitious research agenda and ready technology to attract thought leaders for study, research, and partnership. It strengthens our roots in east Baltimore, where we have excellence cornered.

Building for JHU Nursing


Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Dean Davidson’s personal commitment to health equity and social justice (evident in the endowed professorship that bears her name) is reflected in a school-wide investment. At every level, cross-functional teams are building systems to improve equity—for example, the student, faculty, and staff committee “Teaching and Learning as a Pathway to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” that is in the midst of a textbook review. Or the school-wide men in nursing initiative, which aims to recruit men for a more representative profession.

Under Dean Davidson’s leadership, the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing has been recognized as a “Best School for Men In Nursing” since 2019 and won the Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award three consecutive times (most recently for 2020). We approach diversity, equity, and inclusion as a long-term investment that is critical for strong science, strong communities, and a strong profession.


Leadership in a Global Pandemic

The Coronavirus rocked the world, but Johns Hopkins emerged as a global leader with the most trusted voice. Dean Davidson guided our response to health care workers and the pandemic globally, and locally led a seamless transition to online school and work.

One Year of Coronavirus

The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing community spent 3,486 hours volunteering from March 2020 to February 2021, partnered with FutureLearn and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health to establish pandemic-related free courses, and even launched a mobile vaccination clinic to help the people of Baltimore, in conjunction with Johns Hopkins Medicine, MedStar Health, Sinai Lifebridge, and the Baltimore Health Department. Dean Davidson was on the front lines administering vaccines herself, along with Johns Hopkins Medicine President Kevin Sowers and Chief Nursing Officer Deborah Baker.


Thank you Dean Davidson

Dean Davidson’s legacy is remarkable, but what we will remember the most is how she made us feel. She took the time to connect with everyone and show you that she truly cared. The same is true for causes she believed in; before the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee had enough community involvement, she stepped up to chair it herself.

So thank you Dean Davidson.

Her legacy is not only a stronger school of nursing, part of her “handoff” is our collective understanding that “leadership” is a hands-on commitment to the best for who and what is in your charge.


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