First Midwest Hospital Maker Space for Nurses
I run the first nurse-led hospital makerspace in the Midwest! What does this mean? Generate is a physical space on the main level of the hospital where team members can come to develop, create, or brainstorm about ideas they have.
Rose Hedges, DNP, RN
Nursing Research & Innovation Coordinator
What do you do?
I run the first nurse-led hospital makerspace in the Midwest! What does this mean? Generate is a physical space on the main level of the hospital where team members can come to develop, create, or brainstorm about ideas they have. We are different than most innovation labs in that the projects are completed by the person with the idea. We are not an idea drop off station; we teach new skills that enable clinicians to create.
What does a typical day look like?
Whether picking up a shift working in the ICU or in my role as the nursing research and innovation coordinator every day is different. One day I am caring for the some of our sickest patients and on another I get to inspire and create. For example, I could start my day helping a nurse from our flight team create a solution to freezing IV tubing on the helipad to helping a patient create a customized weighted baby for her own outpatient physical therapy. Then I could be teaching computer aided design (CAD) to a nurse that wants to create a 3d printed urinal holder for bedside tables.
Rose, are you an engineer? You can CAD?
No, I am not an engineer and I learned to CAD through my journey of opening our makerspace. I had no formal training but learned through exposure and lots of practice. This is one of my favorite things I get to do in my role, I teach new skills to nurses that are not traditionally taught in nursing school.
Growing up in small town Iowa I found myself naturally drawn to tinkering, to pass the time. My mother would have said I have broken wing syndrome, I naturally gravitate to broken things, from animals, friends, a process, or a patient. I have always had been drawn to fix and repair. Being raised to follow my curiosity is also what landed me where I am today. I started my nursing innovation journey by exploring the idea of using innovation as an engagement tool in nursing. During this search I ran across this article uncovering the history of nursing innovation from decades ago. From here I connected with the authors and a relationship was born where I partnered with MakerHealth to implement a mobile innovation lab at my hospital, where I began my life’s work of connecting nurses to the tools and space where they can bring their ideas to life.
What happened next:
- Ran a mobile innovation program for 18 months building a portfolio of projects created by nurses and other clinicians.
- Saw firsthand that nurses have ideas and we need to give them space to work on them, whether virtually or physically.
- I worked with my chief nurse executive to create a business plan to implement a permanent makerspace in the hospital; we pitched the idea to our hospital foundation and were approved!
- Generate opened in 2019!
- Global pandemic… how did we respond?
- Do the work.
- Google Lyla Olson
- Don’t shut down magic carpet ideas. Listen to all ideas and explore options, let the inventor come to the realization that perhaps their idea isn’t going to work, they will come to an alternative.
- Not all innovative work is a giant life changing device, single patient impact projects are just as important.