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Deirdre K. Thornlow, PhD, RN, CPHQ

Assistant Professor
Phone: 
(919) 684-9252
Office: 
2051 Pearson Building

Deirdre K. Thornlow, PhD, RN, CPHQ is an advanced practice nurse with over 20 years experience in healthcare leadership. She has held numerous leadership positions throughout her career, including Director of Quality Operations at The George Washington University Hospital and Gerontology Project Director for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Dr. Thornlow is an Assistant Professor at the Duke University School of Nursing, a John A. Hartford Foundation Claire M. Fagin Fellow, and a Senior Fellow in the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development.

Dr. Thornlow is pursuing a program of health services research that capitalizes upon her expertise in acute care quality and patient safety. She completed several related research projects as first steps toward understanding the relationship among hospital characteristics, patient safety practices, and patient outcomes. Her dissertation research, Relationship of Hospital Systems and Utilization of Patient Safety Practices to Patient Outcomes, was funded by a National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Nursing Research and was selected as the 2007 most meritorious dissertation by the University of Virginia School of Nursing faculty. In this study, Dr. Thornlow reported that hospitals using fewer patient safety practices demonstrated higher rates for certain adverse events. She has since expanded this work to focus on patient safety in hospitalized older adults by examining the role that nurses play in preventing, mitigating or even exacerbating postoperative complications in hospitalized older adults. Dr. Thornlow is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ), and a member of the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ), Academy Health, the American Organization of Nurse Executives, and the Gerontological Society of America.

Academic Program Affiliations

  • PhD in Nursing Program
  • Master of Science in Nursing Program
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

Education

  • PhD - University of Virginia School of Nursing
  • MS - University of California-Los Angeles School of Nursing
  • BSN - Pennsylvania State University

Research Interests

● Health services research
● Patient safety in acute care hospitals
● Quality of care in acute care hospitals
● Quality and patient safety outcomes in hospitalized older adults

Awards and Honors

  • 2010 || 2010-2012 Claire M. Fagin Postdoctoral Fellow, Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity (BAGNC) Program (funded by John H. Hartford Foundation/Atlantic Philanthropies)
  • 2007 || Outstanding PhD Student Publication, The University of Virginia
  • 2007 || Phyllis J. Verhonick Research Award, The University of Virginia
  • 2006 || Barbara Brodie Scholars Award, The University of Virginia
  • 2004 || National Research Service Award, National Institute of Nursing Research
  • 2003 || Doctoral Scholarship, University of Virginia School of Nursing
  • 1992 || Clinical Nurse Specialist Trainee Award, Department of Veterans Affairs
  • 1992 || Graduate Scholarship Award, Kaiser Permanente
  • 1992 || Professional Nurse Traineeship, UCLA
  • 1988 || Achievement Medals, U. S. Army

Areas of Expertise

  • Nursing and Health Care Leadership
  • Quality of Care / Patient Safety

Representative Publications

  • 2014 -- PubMed # : 24279889 Heflin, M. T. and Pinheiro, S. O. and Konrad, T. R. and Egerton, E. O. and Thornlow, D. K. and White, H. K. and McConnell, E. J. Design and evaluation of a prelicensure interprofessional course on improving care transitions. Gerontol Geriatr Educ. January, 2014 35(1); 41-63
  • 2013 -- PubMed # : 24297156 Thornlow, D. K. and Oddone, E. and Anderson, R. Cascade iatrogenesis: a case-control study to detect postoperative respiratory failure in hospitalized older adults. Res Gerontol Nurs. March, 2014 7(2); 66-77
  • 2013 -- PubMed # : 23117793 Turner, K. and Frush, K. and Hueckel, R. and Relf, M. V. and Thornlow, D. and Champagne, M. T. Implementation of the Josie King Care Journal in a pediatric intensive care unit: a quality improvement project. J Nurs Care Qual. Jul-Sept, 2013 28(3); 257-64
  • 2012 -- PubMed # : 22543067 Segall, N. and Bonifacio, A. S. and Schroeder, R. A. and Barbeito, A. and Rogers, D. and Thornlow, D. K. and Emery, J. and Kellum, S. and Wright, M. C. and Mark, J. B. and Durham VA Patient Safety Center of Inquiry Can we make postoperative patient handovers safer? A systematic review of the literature. Anesth Analg. July, 2012 115(1); 102-15
  • 2011 -- PubMed # : 21836453 Carman, M. J. and Phipps, J. and Raley, J. and Li, S. and Thornlow, D. Use of a clinical decision support tool to improve guideline adherence for the treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: Skin and soft tissue infections. Adv Emerg Nurs J. December, 2011 33(3); 252-66
  • 2011 -- PubMed # : 22372083 Vinson, M. H. and McCallum, R. and Thornlow, D. K. and Champagne, M. T. Design, implementation, and evaluation of population-specific telehealth nursing services. Nurs Econ. September-October, 2011 29(5); 265-72
  • 2011 -- PubMed # : 21037484 Fuchs, M. A. and Sexton, D. J. and Thornlow, D. K. and Champagne, M. T. Evaluation of an evidence-based, nurse-driven checklist to prevent hospital-acquired catheter-associated urinary tract infections in intensive care units. J Nurs Care Qual. Apr-Jun, 2011 26(2); 101-9
  • 2011 -- Thornlow, D. K. Advanced practice nursing: inquiry and evaluation. In Advanced Practice Nursing: Emphasizing Common Roles edited by Stanley, J. M.. 2011; : F. A. Davis Co.. 2011
  • 2010 -- PubMed # : 20546364 Baernholdt, M. and Jennings, B. M. and Merwin, E. and Thornlow, D. What does quality care mean to nurses in rural hospitals? J Adv Nurs. June, 2010 66(6); 1346-55
  • 2010 -- PubMed # : 20304374 Thornlow, D. K. and McGuinn, K. A necessary sea change for nurse faculty development: spotlight on quality and safety. J Prof Nurs. March, 2010 26(2); 71-81

Pages

Grant Funding (Selected)

  • Cascade Iatrogenesis: Postoperative Respiratory Failure in Hospitalized Older Adults

    John A. Hartford Foundation
    10-224
    09/2010 to 08/2012
    Role: PI

    Project Goal: Examine factors associated with older adults’ risk for developing a common cascading complication, including events that may ‘trigger’ the cascade towards postoperative respiratory failure, yet may be preventable through nursing care. Planned investigations include both qualitative and quantitative methods to identify and test nursing care variables that may explain cascade iatragenesis.

  • ‘Cascade Iatrogenesis:’ Postoperative Respiratory Failure in Hospitalized Older Adults

    Duke University School of Nursing Office of Research Affairs
    01/2009 to 12/2009
    Role: PI

    Project Goal: This study is designed to investigate the early events in cascade iatrogenesis, using the example of postoperative respiratory failure. Investigator will examine factors associated with older adults’ risk of developing postoperative respiratory failure, including precursor events that may trigger the initial cascade and the nursing care variables that may prevent or mitigate risk.

  • Mentoring Grant in Gerontology

    University of Iowa Gerontological Nursing Intervention Research Center
    01/2008 to 12/2008
    Role: PI

    Project Goal: To establish mentoring relationship between junior and senior faculty. Dr. Marita Titler, Professor and Director of Research, Quality and Outcomes Management for the Department of Nursing Services and Patient Care at The University of Iowa Health Center, is an expert in nursing outcomes / effectiveness research and has agreed to serve as mentor.

  • Outcomes of Nursing Management Practice in Nursing Homes

    National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Nursing Research
    R56-NR003178-09
    09/2009 to 08/2010
    Role: Co-Investigator

    Project goal: Test the benefit of a new staff interaction intervention (CONNECT) over and above a falls quality improvement intervention in reducing patient fall rates in nursing homes.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

    Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
    1D09-HP14827-01-001D09-HP14827-01-00
    07/2009 to 06/2012
    Role: Faculty

    Project Goal: To develop, implement, and operate the Duke University School of Nursing DNP program, the first in North Carolina.

  • Geriatric Education Center: Transitions of Care for the Elderly: An Inter-professional Course for Advanced Learners

    Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions
    09/2007 to 08/2010
    Role: Faculty

    Project Goal: To increase the ability of interdisciplinary health professions faculty to engage in interdisciplinary faculty development and coursework in the areas of palliative care, transitional care, and long-term care through continuing education and mini-fellowship activities.

  • Gerontology Mentoring Grant

    University of Iowa Gerontological Nursing Intervention Research Center
    09/2007 to 08/2008
    Role: PI

    Project Goal: To establish mentoring relationship between junior and senior faculty. Dr. Marita Titler, Professor and Director of Research, Quality and Outcomes Management for the Department of Nursing Services and Patient Care at The University of Iowa Health Center, is an expert in nursing outcomes / effectiveness research and has agreed to serve as mentor.

  • Relationship of Patient Safety to Patient Outcomes

    National Research Service Award, National Institute of Nursing Research
    F31 NR009320-01
    09/2004 to 05/2007
    Role: PI
  • Creating Careers in Geriatric Nursing

    John A. Hartford Foundation
    10/2001 to 10/2005
    Role: Project Director

    Project Goal: The grant provides funds to schools of nursing, which in turn award graduate education scholarships to exemplary students who have demonstrated leadership potential and dedication to caring for older adults. The grant eliminates financial barriers to education and encourages networking, mentorship, role modeling, and leadership skill development.

  • Enhancing Geriatric Nursing Education for Baccalaureate and Advanced Practice Nursing Programs (Renewal: Enhancing Gerontology in Senior-level Undergraduate Courses)

    John A. Hartford Foundation
    05/2001 to 05/2005
    Role: Project Director

    Project Goal: To support gerontology curriculum development and new clinical experiences in 30 selected baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Michael Cary presented a poster titled "Social Determinants of 30-day Hospital Readmissions among Major Joint Replacement Patients" at the annual Pepper Center meeting in Arlington, Virginia.  Poster authors include Victoria Goode, Deirdre Thornlow, Cathleen Colón-Emeric, ABSN student Shannon Murphy and Beth Merwin.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Victoria Goode, Nancy Crego, Michael Cary, Deirdre Thornlow and Elizabeth "Beth" Merwin published an article entitled "Improving Quality and Safety Through Use of Secondary Data: Methods Case Study" in the Western Journal of Nursing Research.

Friday, May 13, 2016

DNP alumna Honey Jones recently published an article entitled "Intrahospital Transport of the Critically Ill Adult: A Standardized Evaluation Plan" in the journal Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing. Co-authors of the article included Michael Zychowicz, Mary Champagne, and Deirdre Thornlow.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Being on the front line of direct patient care, nurses act as liaisons and advocates between patients, their families and other health care professionals. It is because of this role, they greatly impact the successful recovery of patients especially following elective procedures and surgeries. Preventing complications from snowballing into a larger unintended problem called “cascade iatrogenesis” is the foundation for the research being conducted by DUSON Assistant Professor Deirdre Thornlow, PhD, RN, CPHQ.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Deirdre Thornlow, PhD, RN, was invited to speak at the Cleveland Clinic Zielony Institute for Nursing Excellence at their Nursing Grand Rounds Special Event on Tuesday May 13, 2014. Dr. Thornlow was asked to present her dissertation research on the relationship between patient safety and patient outcomes and her latest work on Cascade Iatrogenesis. She presented a one-hour lecture entitled "The Relationship between Nursing Care and Patient Outcomes," in which she outlined the state of the science on the topic and her research to date.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Assistant Professor Katherine Pereira presented a poster co-authored with assistant professors Allison Vorderstrasse and Deidre Thornlow entitled "Collaborative Diabetes Care between a Primary Care Practice and Insurance Company Case Managers" on June 10 at the American Diabetes Association 72th Annual Scientific Sessions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Meg Carman, DNP'10, and Assistant Professor Deirdre Thornlow published an article entitled "Use of a clinical decision support tool to improve guideline adherence for the treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: Skin and soft tissue infections" in Advanced Emergency Nursing.

Mary Vinson, DNP'10, Assistant Professor Deirdre Thornlow, and Laurel Chadwick Professor of Nursing Mary Champagne published an article entitled "Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of Population-Specific Telehealth Nursing Services" in Nursing Economic$.