Enthusiasm, persistence, passion, determination – those are just some of the qualities that can help nurses who want to bring their innovative ideas to fruition, according to panelists at a morning session on the last day of the ANA Quality and Innovation Conference in Orlando. The panelists also shared their personal journeys in innovation, their work, and some practical and inspiring strategies with conference attendees.
“My innovation journey started out of necessity,” said Kristi Henderson, DNP, NP-BC, FAAN, FAEN, vice president of Virtual Care and Innovation, Ascension Texas and clinical professor of population health at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas. She led the development of the first telehealth program—initially for her facility and then statewide—to improve access to care in rural areas of Mississippi. In Austin, she continues to use technology to integrate services and deliver care in homes, workplaces, and other locations.
For Christi DeLemos, MSN, CNRN, ACNP, her experience witnessing a gap in some nurses’ neurological assessment skills while she was hospitalized for spinal injuries fueled her innovative thinking. DeLemos, associate director of advanced practice, Patient Care Services, UC Davis Health, Sacramento, developed a mobile app called Neuroscience Nurse that gives nurses’ point-of-care access to information on stroke, traumatic brain injuries, and other neurological issues.
Offering some advice
“We need to get people to believe in their own creativity,” said Karen Tilstra, PhD, co-founder of the Florida Hospital Innovation Lab, where nurses and others can bring their challenges and innovate solutions.
“Innovation is always a step in the dark,” she said. “It takes courage. But you don’t have to know everything to start [finding solutions].”
Michele Davey, RN, a clinical nurse at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said nurses who are trying to determine if their ideas work should ask themselves whether their innovation will improve patient care and free up resources, as well as determine if their idea already exists. Davey helped create an improved IV site protector with a soft closure wraparound.
Start your creative engines
Yesterday, nurses participating in ANA’s first and nursing’s largest ever hackathon proved why they are natural and skilled innovators. Here are just a few examples of nurses’ innovative thinking: a relaxing virtual reality room where nurses can take a break from their unit; an app in which nurses could report their own violent incident, as well as track the total number of incidents in 24 hours; and gloves that serve as armor against needlesticks and sharps injuries.
A hackathon is an approach that uses crowdsourcing to find solutions to oftentimes intractable issues. In this case, participants used innovative thinking to determine ways to advance safe patient handling and mobility, prevent violence against nurses, strengthen moral resilience and ethical practice, and protect healthcare workers against needlestick and sharps injuries. Nurses initially generated ideas on their own at group tables, and in a succession of votes, whittled them down to winning solutions.
Read more about the ANA Quality and Innovation Conference and plan to attend next year.