The School of
Nursing's health care information technology
initiatives and simulation labs were a highlighted stopover
in a recent legislative visit to Johns Hopkins. On Dec. 18,
as part of an insitutionswide briefing organized by the
Office of Government, Community and Public Affairs,
congressman-elect John P. Sarbanes of Maryland learned
about the importance of using nursing informatics —
both in nursing education and practice — to provide
quality health care for the nation.
Also on Sarbanes' agenda were meetings with Martha
Hill, dean of the School of Nursing; Michael Klag, dean of
the Bloomberg School of Public Health; Linda Robertson,
vice president for government, community and public
affairs; Richard Grossi, chief financial officer of Johns
Hopkins Medicine; and Richard Roca, director of the Applied
In the first of three lab-based demonstrations at the
School of Nursing, Patti Abbott, an assistant professor,
outlined the teaching opportunities offered by the
Hopkins/Eclipsys Health Care Information Technology Lab.
Johns Hopkins' School of Nursing is one of only five
nursing schools in the country with this technology, which
allows users to check a care plan, determine a course of
action and record their findings or alter plans of care.
"Nursing technology can help reduce error and improve
patient safety," Abbott said. "It can help nurses figure
out how to do the right thing. But it is, unfortunately,
underutilized in the United States."
In demonstrating the system, Krysia Hudson, a clinical
instructor who works with students in the lab, pointed out
to Sarbanes that the technology used at the school is more
sophisticated than that available at most hospitals. "We
teach the optimal," Hudson said, "and we hope that when our
students leave the school, they will propagate the model
wherever they work."
Simulations lab manager Diane Aschenbrenner added to
the visit with two demonstrations featuring
computer-controlled manikins. Shari Lynn showed how
students learn to feel a pulse and listen to breathing and
heart rate, and Nancy Woods and Elizabeth Jordan led
Sarbanes through manikin simulations of pregnancy, labor
Explained Abbott, "You can't teach someone how to play
the piano by reading a book. Nursing education is the same.
With the simulation technologies, what the students have
heard about in lecture now comes to life. The school's
technology initiatives allow Hopkins nurses to enter the
workplace prepared, confident and capable of providing
outstanding patient care."