The View From Baltimore

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Patricia M. Davidson, Dean

“Let’s hope this moment of national recognition is one small treatment … administered by nurses.”

Who knew that there were so many brilliant, talented, hard-working, caring, brave, outspoken nurses out there? We did. And we should probably thank Joy Behar of ABC’s The View for recently reminding us all who and what we are.

Behar, of course, criticized a Miss America contestant for wearing scrubs and a “doctor’s” stethoscope for her “talent” segment, Behar’s suggestion being that nurses are merely non-thinking props in healthcare, qualified as female servants to the all-powerful physician and nothing more. Behar was parroting a stereotype that becomes more outdated by the millisecond yet somehow lives on.

Ignorance, much as we might wonder sometimes, is not incurable. Let’s hope this moment of national recognition is one small treatment … administered by nurses. And the Fall 2015 issue of Johns Hopkins Nursing is a perfect follow-up. In planning this issue, we talked about the profession’s place in the world. We discussed innovation and how nurses are often the ones carrying evidence-based breakthroughs across borders and putting them into practice. There are daunting challenges involved in integrating quality care into societies unlike our own, but the successes make it unquestionably worthwhile.

Take the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing’s cooperative effort with Peking Union Medical College in establishing the first doctoral-level (PhD) nursing education in China in 2004. Or our cooperative agreement with the energy firm Saudi Aramco that this year establishes the first doctoral-level (DNP) nursing program on its shores. Nurse leaders travel well. And as Phyllis Sharps, associate dean for community and global programs, reminds us: “At Johns Hopkins, we know how to build nurse leaders.” (“Innovation’s Open-Door Policy”).

One of the messages behind our brand new Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): Entry Into Nursing is that we’ll take you from wherever you are in the world—and in your life—to wherever you want to 

go. If the idea of providing healthcare overseas floats your boat, say, the School of Nursing has long-established clinical relationships in Haiti, St. Croix, and Central America. On the pages inside you’ll meet Ron Noecker, an alumnus, a nurse at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and a gracious guide for cohort after cohort of traveling students (“Guatemala Give & Take”). Elsewhere you’ll meet nurses of every color and stripe proudly displaying their talent, and alumni sharing memories of service to this great and essential profession (“An Evening with the Stars 2015”; “Alumni Weekend 2015”).

On a television landscape where he or she who shouts the loudest, most quickly, and most outlandishly gets the applause, such bloopers as Behar’s on The View are perhaps unavoidable. And as usually happens, social media did its thing (#NursesUnite has been fun, hasn’t it?), Behar apologized, and on to the next matter, right?

Not so fast. Healthcare errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States, and empowered, appreciated, understood nurses are the ones who can change that frightening statistic by asking questions, questioning answers, earning the most advance degrees they can, and then practicing to the limits of their licenses from the bedside to the boardroom.

“It’s not a right-wing or a left-wing thing. It is a ‘people who aren’t nurses’ thing,” Sandy Summers, executive director of The Truth About Nursing, said during a September visit to the school. “They don’t understand what it is we do.”

Please keep reading and you will.

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Patricia M. Davidson
PhD, MEd, RN
Dean, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing

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