Creating a More Just and Merciful World
How Nurses Are Contributing To Innovation In Health Care
Nurses are known as caregivers, but many of them can also be called “innovators.”
Health care organizations and companies are seeking nurse innovators to help develop health solutions that can improve patient care. They recognize that nurses are in situations every day in which they directly interact with patients and thus, can provide first-hand insights into the effectiveness of products and processes.
A History of Nurses as Innovators
Beginning with Florence Nightingale in the 1800s, nurses have been leaders in innovation. They are behind medical inventions including the crash cart, color-coded IV lines, feeding tube and baby bottles with disposable liners.
Currently in the 21st Century, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the need for innovative healthcare products and technology. Nurses provided input on innovations ranging from medical-grade protective equipment to virtual communications tools. They are also leading the way for solutions for efficient work processes, better patient experiences and health inequity issues.
New technologies including telehealth services and electronic health records have grown to be standards in health care practice. Nurses touch these technologies on a regular basis as they support patient-provider communication, remotely monitor patients and practice healthcare coordination. They are involved in several innovative efforts. They are communicating with patients through apps that assist with appointments and medication, as well as follow-up dietary and exercise plans. Because of this, nurses are now skilled users of computers and technological devices.
Nurses who can combine specialized knowledge for medical technology, care processes and the patient experience have opportunities to become nurse innovators leading change within health care. Their expertise extends beyond hospitals and medical facilities to private companies, public organizations and government agencies.
Many industries, including e-commerce and technology, are connecting to health services as a way to expand their business and are looking to nurses to provide ideas into the best ways for people to receive health care and medicine.
Nurse Innovators of Tomorrow
The ever-changing health care landscape requires more nurses who can bring innovative ideas to the table.
The next generation of nurses stand at a major point in time when innovation within the nursing field is being recognized as a strength, or even a requirement in some cases. A focus on innovation may put a nurse on the path to leadership in their career.
The importance of innovation skills has pushed nursing education to evolve. A need must be met for caring practitioners who are also innovative professionals. Some nursing school curricula focus on the skills, particularly problem-solving and critical-thinking, that can contribute to innovative solutions.Carlow University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program supports innovative thinking while also providing hands-on clinical experiences. Graduates of this nursing program can go on to pursue licensure or advanced degrees to expand leadership opportunities.