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Deborah Baker, D.N.P., C.R.N.P., N.E.A.-B.C

 Deborah Baker Deborah Baker - At Johns Hopkins since 1992

Senior Vice President of Nursing for Johns Hopkins Health System
Vice President of Nursing and Patient Care Services at The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Why did you decide to join Johns Hopkins Medicine?

Before attending The Johns Hopkins University for a second bachelor’s degree in the accelerated program in nursing, I worked for six years as a psychiatric assistant at a private psychiatric hospital. I was intrigued with the emphasis on inquiry at Johns Hopkins and paid back a scholarship to stay and work at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. I knew I wanted to directly impact the quality of the patient care experience and Johns Hopkins was the place to learn and grow.

Why have you decided to stay at Johns Hopkins Medicine?

I stay at Johns Hopkins Medicine because of the opportunity to be part of care and leadership teams that value evidence-based practice, nursing autonomy and the opportunity to become part of something bigger than one individual. Motivated individuals who take advantage of opportunities can reinvent themselves several times at Johns Hopkins.

You have to speak up and educate others about the value your team brings to the work. Have a mentor and be a mentor.

Please tell us about how you reached your leadership position.

After working as a staff nurse, I returned to school for a master’s degree and a nurse practitioner certification. Working as a nurse practitioner on the trauma and general surgery service, I was motivated to interpret the complex care delivery system to our most vulnerable adult patients and work to improve accessibility and comfort. I aspired to leadership positions to make the greatest impact on care strategically by developing and optimizing nursing roles as integral contributors on multidisciplinary teams. I took advantage of opportunities to participate in system strategic planning committees. I earned a doctorate degree and served as the interim vice president for nursing at The Johns Hopkins Hospital,and was promoted to the inaugural system role. A critical aspect of my role is to articulate the value proposition an optimized nursing workforce has on Johns Hopkins Medicine strategic objectives.

Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of at Johns Hopkins Medicine?

Any of the accomplishments that improved the patient experience by including the voice of the patient and family and all members of the care team at the front line. I have innovated in the areas of care delivery and unique nursing roles. Leading our organization to achieve Magnet status for the fourth time is an effort that requires strong multidisciplinary relationships, common values and goals.

What advice would you give a woman who is aspiring to grow in her leadership responsibilities?

Keep asking questions and challenge all assumptions. If you are focused on strategic goals and can convene diverse teams around common goals, there is a lot that can be accomplished regardless of gender. You have to speak up and educate others about the value your team brings to the work. Have a mentor and be a mentor. I think as an academic and caring community, we must be deliberate in our inclusion of all who bring unique talents to solve complex issues.

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