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Meet a Regional Leader: Five Questions for Sarah Miano, RN

By IHI Open School | Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Sarah Miano

The Open School network is growing — and our Regional Leaders are here to support Open School Chapters whether they’re just starting or well-established. What do Regional Leaders do? They’re long-time members of the Open School who can help Chapters on a one-to-one basis. Contact them when you have questions about planning events, finding resources in the Open School, connecting with other Chapters in your region, or brainstorming activities for your Chapter.

If you’re not yet convinced to reach out, consider this: They are also awesome, enthusiastic members of the Open School network.

To highlight the expertise of our Regional Leaders, we’re starting a "Meet a Regional Leader" series on this blog. First up is Sarah Miano, RN, an alumnae of Case Western Reserve University who supports Chapters in the Midwest along with Ryan Miller.

1. Why did you go into health care?

I came into nursing pretty naturally — my grandma and mom are both nurses. I started volunteering at the hospital where my mom works in middle or high school. I didn't always know I wanted to be a nurse myself, though. During college, I spent the summers working as a nursing assistant so I got to be a part of a health care team that included physicians, nurses, social workers, and many patients and their family caregivers. You can say that working in health care just fits me — I loved the bonds with patients and their families that developed, and I loved the holistic approach of caring for people that nursing brings. I now work as a pediatric hematology/oncology nurse and feel so privileged to be a part of the team that cares for children, teens, and young adults with cancer and blood disorders. Ultimately, I went into health care to make a difference in the people's lives — both patients and their family members who are beside them through illness and into health.

2. Why does quality improvement matter to you?

Access to high-quality health care seems to me to be a right for everyone. Just like we learn from our patients on a daily basis about their experiences and their values, we should be continuously learning about how to make health care better, more efficient, and more affordable. So quality improvement is more than a catchphrase for me. It ties back into why I went into health care  to make a difference in people's lives. Being part of a community of students, faculty, and clinicians in the Open School community that also value quality improvement — not only for the numbers, but for the human impact — is awesome and inspiring.

3. What was your best moment with the Open School community?

My favorite moments are when we can come together at the National Forum or during the Student Quality Leadership Academy. Since I have to pick a "best" moment, I would go back to my first experience at the Forum in 2009. I travelled with a group of medical and nursing students from my Open School Chapter at Case Western Reserve University. We went to the Open School Chapter Congress together and learned about building a public narrative for health care improvement through the Story of Self. [Editor’s note: To learn these community organizing skills yourself, check out our I-CAN initiative.] These techniques were new to me — but so useful in my career now as a nurse and patient advocate. We all left the Forum with new ideas for our Chapter activities and improvement projects to implement in our clinical settings. 

4. Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.

Most people I work with in health care don't know that one of my favorite activities is whitewater canoeing, and I spend a lot of weekends in the summer and fall on the rivers near my home in Cleveland.


5. What one piece of advice would you give a new Chapter?

Build a strong relationship with your faculty advisors. They can be a great resource to your Chapter and help sustain the momentum in the long term. Of course, reaching out to the Regional Leader in your area is also key. We can connect you with other active Chapters in your region and provide additional support as you start out!

If you’re a Chapter in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin – say hello to Sarah at mw.ihi.openschool(at)gmail.com

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