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Deirdre K. Thornlow
Tel: (919) 684-9252
Office: 2051 Pearson Building
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Deirdre K. Thornlow, PhD, RN, CPHQ

Assistant Professor

  • Brief Bio

    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


    PhDUniversity of Virginia School of Nursing
    MSUniversity of California-Los Angeles School of Nursing
    BSNPennsylvania State University

    Professional Certifications

    CPHQCertified Professional in Healthcare Quality

    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

    Clinical Interests

    Dr. Thornlow's clinical interests include acute care quality and patient safety.