A Letter from Deb Baker: No Matter Where You Are, You’re Always a Johns Hopkins Nurse

Fall 2022 As Seen in Our Fall 2022 Issue
A Letter from Deb Baker: No Matter Where You Are, You’re Always a Johns Hopkins Nurse

As a graduate (and faculty) of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, it is thrilling to read about all the exciting things students and fellow alums are doing in each state across the country. In my role as senior vice president of nursing for the Johns Hopkins Health System, I oversee our nursing staff at Johns Hopkins Medicine locations in three areas of the United States—Maryland; Washington, DC; and Florida. And while each location is distinct and has an impact in unique ways, there are common traits among every Johns Hopkins Nurse—regardless of your role, care setting, or geography.

Johns Hopkins Nurses have a legacy of curiosity and valuing evidence-based decision making. Quite simply, Johns Hopkins Nurses ask “why.” It seems to be part of our DNA—that desire for continual learning and understanding. We ask this of ourselves and our mentors, preceptors, providers, and colleagues. For example: Is this the best plan of care? Are the patient’s goals of care considered? At the heart of such questions is the desire to know more, to be the best, to provide the most expert care to our patients. 

Johns Hopkins Nurses are not afraid to challenge the status quo. This trait goes hand-in-hand with asking “why.” Understanding the reason we do something a certain way, or follow a certain process, drives our next questions: Can we do it better or differently? How do we know there isn’t a more efficient process, a more robust tool, a new evidence-based practice that can lead to a better outcome? Across each JHM member organization—our academic medical centers, community hospitals, pediatric facilities, outpatient centers, and at-home medical services—our nurses conduct research, evidence-based practice, and quality-improvement projects to discover if there is a new or better way to provide care and improve patient outcomes and safety. When a new best-practice is discovered, the goal is to share across units, departments, hospitals, or the entire health system. 

Johns Hopkins Nurses make their voices heard. From the bedside to the boardroom, they are leaders and speak up to share their ideas, opinions, and expertise. Frontline nurses sit on governing councils for their unit, department, and organization. They participate in advisory groups and communities, offering their expertise and passion to solve problems and improve their practice environment. They are empowered to use their voices, not only to take excellent care of patients, but to influence change at all levels of the enterprise. 

In the end, whether you are a graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing or an RN within one of our hospitals or clinics, once a Johns Hopkins Nurse, always a Johns Hopkins Nurse. The immeasurable qualities you possess are part of who you are, wherever your career may take you.

Brain Trust: Representing Johns Hopkins at October’s ANCC National Magnet Conference in Philadelphia are, from top left, Sharon Smyth, CNO at Bayview Medical Center; Deborah Baker, senior VP for nursing for the Johns Hopkins Health System; LeighAnn Sidone, CNO/VP for nursing at Suburban Hospital; Ron Langlotz, CNO/VP for nursing at Howard County General Hospital; and Melissa Macogay, CNO/VP for nursing at All Children’s Hospital. 

Deborah J. Baker, DNP, APRN, NEA-BC, FAAN, is senior vice president for nursing for the Johns Hopkins Health System. She also serves as vice president for nursing and patient care services at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

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