A Letter from Deb Baker: Sharing Our Voices, Influencing Change

A Letter from Deb Baker: Sharing Our Voices, Influencing Change

Across the Johns Hopkins Health System (JHHS), we know that many of the best ideas and innovations come directly from our nurses and nursing staff. Our leaders rely on the input of nursing voices to improve and advance the delivery of patient care and the professional development of our staff. The holistic approach nurses take to their work gives them unique insights into the needs of those they care for as well as their colleagues and teammates.  

Guided by the enthusiastic and expert leadership provided by Leighann Sidone, JHHS associate chief nursing executive and chief nursing officer (CNO) for Suburban Hospital, our health system CNO Council partners with nurses across JHHS and provides forums for them to participate in the design and implementation of quality and practice improvements, and professional development as part of a shared governance professional practice model. This model is replicated at each affiliate hospital where unit- or department-based professional practice councils invite nurses to help shape and advance nursing practice in their care area, including quality and safety, clinical documentation and education. As members of interdisciplinary committees and workgroups, nurses also influence change across our organizations by sharing their ideas and strategies to improve other services and specialties that interact with nursing and impact patient care. 

At Johns Hopkins, our nurses are encouraged to ask questions and look for the evidence to support specific care interventions that will yield the best patient-centered outcome. The Johns Hopkins Center for Nursing Inquiry (CNI) is led by our nurse scientist, Dr. Heather Watson, and an expert team that helps guide nurses in formulating their questions in ways that can be measured, and gathering and evaluating the evidence. The CNI team also provides nurses with the guidance and resources to help them amplify their work and share their outcomes more widely. Those outcomes can have a direct impact on the way care is provided and the strategies we use at the unit, department or even health system level. Our staff nurses demonstrate their clinical leadership through this disseminated work. 

The impact of nurses’ voices is also invaluable in creating and sustaining a healthy work environment. We recently completed our 2023 Interprofessional Well-Being Survey, which looks at professional fulfillment, burnout, work efficiency, organizational leadership, peer support, and work-life balance. The thoughts and opinions that nurses and other clinicians shared will help inform health system priorities and investments to create efficiencies in practice, build a culture of wellness, and support well-being efforts.

Nursing’s contributions to innovation and improvement across JHHS are countless and deeply valued. As health care delivery is being reimagined, we are grateful that Johns Hopkins nurses are leading the way during this transformative time.

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