Rene Schwendimann
Consulting Professor in the School of Nursing

René Schwendimann, PhD, RN, director of education at the Institute of Nursing Science (INS) at the University of Basel, Switzerland, is a consulting professor at DUSON under a Swiss research grant on an international postdoctoral fellowship. He holds a diploma in Psychiatric Nursing from Südhalde, Zurich, Switzerland; a Master of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Maastricht, Netherlands; and a PhD in Nursing Science from the University of Basel, Switzerland. His experience includes 30 years in a variety of clinical, administrative and teaching positions in nursing homes, hospitals and in academia.

Dr. Schwendimann’s area of research comprises patient falls prevention in the institutional setting. He is particularly interested in patient safety culture and clinical outcomes. His early research program included a series of retrospective and prospective studies in which he reported relevant issues of patient falls in the hospital setting in his doctoral thesis entitled “Patient Falls: A Key Issue in Patient Safety in Hospitals.” His post-doctoral activities built on preliminary work completed in Switzerland such as the Patient Safety and Clinical Outcomes research program, as well as collaborative work with the Basel-Leuven Falls Prevention research group.

During his tenure at Duke, he is focusing on expanding his expertise in the area of patient safety and quality of care. This involves an ongoing joint research project with Dr. J. Bryan Sexton at the Duke University Health System’s Patient Safety Office to analyze patient safety study data (e.g., safety attitudes questionnaire, in-patient falls, staffing & skills mix and patient flow) from Swiss and U.S. hospitals. He has received invitations to sit in on and/or visit, hospital and health system committees that specifically address quality improvement, education, safety culture, medication safety, incident reporting, safety assessment and patient advocacy.

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