Deirdre KIing Thornlow
Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing

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 Assistant Professor at the Duke University School of Nursing and a Senior Fellow in the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development.

 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

Contact Information

  • DUMC 3322, 307 Trent Drive, Durham, NC 27710
  • School Of Nursing, Box_3322, Durham, NC 27710

Some information on this profile has been compiled automatically from Duke databases and external sources. (Our About page explains how this works.) If you see a problem with the information, please write to Scholars@Duke and let us know. We will reply promptly.