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Deirdre KIing Thornlow

Associate Clinical Professor in the School of Nursing
School of Nursing
DUMC 3322, 307 Trent Drive, Durham, NC 27710
School of Nursing, BOX_3322, Durham, NC 27710


Deirdre K. Thornlow, PhD, RN, CPHQ is an advanced practice nurse with over 30 years of experience in healthcare. 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 Associate Professor at the Duke University School of Nursing.

 Dr. Thornlow’s program of scholarship capitalizes upon her expertise in acute care quality and patient safety. She completed several related research projects to understand 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, especially those that may initiate cascade iatrogenesis.'

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.

Research Interests:
health services research
patient safety in acute care hospitals
quality of care in acute care hospitals
quailty and patient safety outcomes in hospitalized older adults

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Associate Clinical Professor in the School of Nursing · 2020 - Present School of Nursing

Education, Training & Certifications

University of Virginia · 2007 Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles · 1993 M.S.N.
Pennsylvania State University · 1986 B.S.N.