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DiversityNursing Blog

Innovation in Nursing: Everything it Takes to Be a Nurse Innovator and Innovators to Watch Out For!

Posted by Sarah West APRN, FNP-BC

Wed, Aug 30, 2023 @ 12:06 PM

Nurses play a crucial role in healthcare innovation. Innovation in Nursing requires a creative approach to develop and implement new technologies, streamline workflows, improve patient care, and enhance overall healthcare outcomes. Nurses are uniquely qualified to contribute to Nursing innovations due to their frontline experience, patient interactions, and in-depth understanding of the healthcare process. Here are some attributes, qualities, and competencies Nurses need to be an innovator.

Clinical Expertise: Nurses have an in-depth understanding of patient needs, treatment plans, and healthcare procedures. This first-hand experience allows you to identify areas of healthcare where innovation may be needed to enhance patient safety and healthcare outcomes. Clinical expertise is the first step of innovation in Nursing.

Patient-Centered Care: The #1 focus of Nurses is to provide patient-centered care. It is often the top motivator of Nurse innovators. Nurses spend a significant amount of time with patients, making them expertly qualified to contribute ideas to personalize care plans, enhance communication, and improve the overall patient experience.

Thinking Outside the Box: All innovation in Nursing is born from thinking outside the box and exploring many possibilities to create a solution. Nurses are natural problem solvers who use creativity and curiosity to continually investigate problems and develop practical solutions that are easy to implement and understand.  

Risk Taking: Although risk taking can often be viewed as a negative term, no Nursing innovation was ever successful without taking a risk. Nurse innovators interweave evidence-based practice with practical solutions to change how we care for our patients and ultimately improve their health outcomes.

Innovation in Nursing starts with a need for change, a desire to help, and an idea that changes the face of healthcare and positively impacts patient care. Here are several fantastic Nurse innovators took their ideas and turned them into reality.  

The Crash Cart: Anita Door, a Registered Nurse, created the first-ever crash cart in 1968 after years of watching Doctors and Nurses run around Nursing units looking for essential equipment in the face of emergencies. She developed the first crash cart prototype in her basement, and now, crash carts are a staple of any healthcare facility and are used worldwide.

Lumify uNight Light: The Lumify uNight Light was developed by Anthony Scaropone-Lambert, a then Nursing student and NICU Nurse, Jennifer Mancillas. While working together, they realized a need for light they could use to light their workspace without disrupting their patients with bright overhead lighting in the middle of the night. This is how the idea for a portable, battery-operated, clip-on light was born. Now, the Lumify uNight Light is a must-have accessory for any Nurse.

Stink Balm Odor Blocker: Created by an Emergency Room Nurse who wanted to find a way to cover foul odors often inconspicuously encountered on the job. The Stink Balm Odor Blocker is a must-have for all Nurses. The Balm comes in a discrete, lip balm-like container and can be quickly and easily applied under the nose so you can enjoy a fresh scent while taking care of your patients. The company is 100% Nurse-owned and operated out of Long Island, New York.

The N95 Mask Preserver: The COVID-19 pandemic inspired Nurse innovators to push the limits and invent practical solutions to everyday problems. Timothy Aurelio, an Emergency Room Nurse who worked during the pandemic, was forced to reuse his N95 mask due to a short supply of PPE. He invented the N95 Mask preserver as a convenient and clean place to store his mask between his shifts. The preserver is made of antimicrobial, medical-grade plastic, allowing Nurses to preserve PPE while keeping themselves and their patients safe.

The Beata Clasp: Nurses who work at the bedside know all too well how easily IV tubing, drains, and other medical lines can get tangled up throughout the shift. Lennor Henning, an experienced bedside Nurse, developed the Beata Clasp, a latex-free appliance to be applied to the bedrail to keep lines organized easily.

The Neo-Slip: The Neo-Slip was developed by a Registered Nurse who realized how tough it was for older people to apply compression stockings to prevent leg blood clots. The Neo-Slip provides a smooth base with a lubricated effect to help slide stockings into place.

Nurses everywhere continue to utilize their knowledge and experience to create practical solutions to solve problems and streamline processes. As healthcare grows and evolves, new innovative opportunities will continuously emerge. If you have an idea, there is no better time to put that idea into motion and change the face of Nursing.

Topics: nurse innovator, innovation in nursing

Nurse Innovators: the Future of Healthcare

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, May 01, 2019 @ 03:38 PM

innovationThe Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) defines innovation as “a new way of doing things to improve healthcare delivery”. Innovation can happen in your processes, systems, business models, as well as other “new” products or services.

“Nurses are the backbone of the American healthcare system,” says Sarah Colamarino, Vice President, Corporate Equity, Johnson & Johnson. “We know they are compassionate caregivers, but they’re so much more—they’re also driving innovation and pushing healthcare forward."

The reason Nurses are natural innovators is because “Nurses sit at the juncture between the patient and the system. They understand the pain points,’’ says Boston Children's Hospital Nursing Director, Jayne Rogers. “We want to encourage them to identify those issues and bring them forward for solutions.’’

Here are a few terrific Nurses Innovators whose ideas made life better for many.

Jonelle Krier, an OB Nurse in Duluth, MN, noticed parents struggle with air-drying their infant’s umbilical cord. She came up with an idea for an infant body suit with an opening that provides umbilical exposure. The one-piece garments are now used in some hospital nurseries. Krier won a Huggies® Mom Inspired™ grant, which has helped her expand the line to offer additional colors and designs.

Some ideas are simple changes, but make a huge impact in patient care.

Nurses Teri Barton-Salina and her sister Gail Barton-Hay had the idea to color-code IV lines so you'd be able to identify lines in seconds. In hospitals those seconds are valuable.

Neomi Bennett, RN, wanted to help Nurses and patients dealing with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which occurs when blood clots form in the deep veins, often the legs. Many Doctors require patients to wear compression stockings, which can be difficult to put on because they are very tight. Bennett invented the Neo-Slip, a simple foot covering that allows compression stockings to be slipped on with ease.

OR Nurse, Jill Byrne of the Cleveland Clinic, created a vest to keep surgical staff cool under hot operating room lights. The lightweight vest contains pockets to hold ice packs and is designed to fit under surgical gowns to fight heat stress.

Innovation doesn't mean you have to create something completely new.

A Lippincott article says, "You can use an existing tool or device for a new purpose. An example of this is how older drugs are approved for new indications. Similarly, Nurses may find a secondary benefit of an existing device that we can use to support Nursing care like using a patient’s mobile phone to record patient teaching. There also may be great ideas that Nurses can repurpose from another industry to solve a problem in healthcare. An example of this is how Nursing professional development practitioners borrowed from the entertainment and gaming industry to foster learning in a more engaging format. Having received poor feedback about boring lectures in a Nurse residency program, the organizers of the program implemented escape rooms to reinforce learning and to test problem-solving skills among Nurse residents."

It is imperative to create a culture of innovation where Nurses feel confident in sharing their ideas and receive resources to help further their concepts into actual solutions.

An ANA article said, " In Nursing education, we should be teaching our Nurse leaders how to be change agents and innovators. We should be developing ways to train new Nurses and ensure that they are “innovation competent” when they graduate. As Nurses, we need to be calculated risk takers while keeping patient safety paramount. That way, we raise Nurses who don’t accept the status quo and are always questioning and seeing what’s next."

Healthcare is continually evolving. To become better, we need Nurse innovators to create new ideas, solutions and improvements to existing processes, systems and materials. Please share new innovations that made a difference to you and your patients.

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Topics: nurse innovator, innovation in nursing

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