Nurses As The Throughline

David B. Hellmann, M.D., M.A.C.P.

David B. Hellmann,

If you or a loved one have spent any time in a hospital, you’ve experienced firsthand the indispensable role that nurses play in patient care. While physician time with patients is often limited, nurses are the throughline — they are there day in and day out, hour after hour, providing care, comfort and compassion for patients and their families. Nurses educate, advocate and empower. Nurses, in short, epitomize the ideal of getting to know patients as people.

So it’s particularly fitting that nurses have come to play such a vital role in CIM’s new Initiative for Humanizing Medicine (IHM). As you’ll read about in “Small Grants, Big Impact” (p. 6), in a project co-led by CIM’s first nurse scholar, Martha Abshire Saylor, more than 70 clinical teams from across the Johns Hopkins enterprise submitted proposals for lowcost ways to boost the patient experience and improve care. Many of those creative proposals were spearheaded by nurses or nursing teams.

The 21st Annual Miller Lecture

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

The featured speaker was Susan Magsamen, author of Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us, and the founder and executive director of the International Arts + Mind Lab: Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics, a pioneering initiative from the Pedersen Brain Science Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The lecture illuminated how the arts help us explore, feel and understand what it means to experience joy, suffering and inspiration — in short, what it means to be human. As such this lecture complements well CIM’s Initiative for Humanizing Medicine. This lecture, now in its 21st year, is made possible by the support of Sarah Miller Coulson, Anne G. Miller, Leslie A. Miller and Richard Worley.

Of course, the crucial role that nurses play in leading innovation is nothing new. In “Tales of Joy in Geriatrics” (p. 14), we share insights that geriatrics legend John Burton gained over his long and impactful career — a career that saw the launch of paradigm-changing programs to provide homecentered care for older adults. In his CIM Seminar, John was quick to give credit to Johns Hopkins nurses, whose partnership was key to building innovative programs that serve older patients.

These and other stories — including “Communicating Our Way to Better Patient Care” (p. 2), about the research and findings of IHM co-director Mary Catherine Beach — affirm that the Initiative for Humanizing Medicine is flourishing. So, too, is the CIM-supported Human Aging Project, where leaders are blending the cutting-edge technologies of engineering with medicine’s deep insights to dramatically improve the quality of life for older adults (“Restoring Luster to the Golden Years,” p. 8).

I hope that these and other articles in this issue of CIM Breakthrough will prove inspiring reading!


David B. Hellmann, M.D., M.A.C.P.
Aliki Perroti Professor of Medicine