Each day as I travel through our Baltimore neighborhoods, I’m reminded of how much the people and places of this city shape the education and career possibilities of our students and faculty.
Here on the East Baltimore campus of Johns Hopkins University, we have a community of scholars studying and working on the only campus in the nation where each of the schools of nursing, medicine, and public health are ranked among the top five in their disciplines. And of course we have the #1 hospital in the U.S.
These institutions—clustered in a location I call the “Four Corners of Health Care Excellence”—serve the needs of amazingly diverse populations, in neighborhoods and communities both here and abroad. We do so through exceptionally innovative and multidisciplinary approaches designed by our world-renowned Hopkins faculty, researchers, and clinicians. Many of their initiatives become learning, practice, and investigative opportunities for our baccalaureate and graduate students and our post-doctoral fellows. But, more importantly, these approaches increasingly focus on community outreach that engages the residents of our neighborhoods—a significantly underserved urban population—and addresses their vital health care needs.
In this issue we tell just a few of the hundreds of stories about how the East Baltimore campus and its nearby neighborhoods offer life-changing learning and discovery experiences for each generation of Hopkins nurses and nursing students while serving a community in need. In “Neighborhood Matters,” our students describe the volunteer work they do through SOURCE, the university’s Student Outreach Resource Center, which serves as an essential link between Hopkins students and community organizations and local projects. Our Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) fellows add their tales of valued lessons-learned and gratifying hands-on experiences in the School of Nursing’s Community Outreach Program.
“Live from 525,” offers a first-hand account from an RPCV alumna and MSN-MPH student working in Baltimore. In her own words, she describes those experiences as “a challenge, an adventure and a growth opportunity” and notes how the community is shaping her—as a Hopkins nurse.
“A New Kind of School Nurse,” explores our decade-long program of providing health services to an inner-city parochial school and using this and similar sites as an introduction to community health nursing for all baccalaureate students. The article includes an overview of our plans to launch an integrated approach to health care for more East Baltimore children and their families at a new school soon to open near our campus. This too will be a learning environment for our students and will allow them to experience the rewards of community public health nursing.
And in “Second Opinion,” we hear from you—our readers—about how receiving a nursing education in Baltimore shaped you as a nurse. The top answer for those of us who learned our skills and began our careers here was: “The diversity of the city population prepared me for nursing practice anywhere.”
To paraphrase a familiar adage, our responses confirm that, “You can take the Hopkins Nurse out of Baltimore, but you can’t take Baltimore out of the Hopkins Nurse.”
Martha N. Hill, PhD, RN ’64, FAAN
Professor of Nursing, Medicine and Public Health