The theme of 2013 National Nurses Week was “Delivering Quality and Innovation in Patient Care”. Quality of care has been at the forefront of innovation as nurses continue to explore new communication channels to educate, train, and improve the overall delivery of care. Although this list contains projects in early development stages, the nurses heading them continue to inspire new nurses by pushing the envelope in healthcare innovation. I know this list only touches upon some of the remarkable nurse-led innovations and innovators of 2013 but these five innovations and innovators stood out to me in the categories of role, education, technology, disaster care, and communication.
Highlighting their practice in unconventional settings, these nurses have demonstrated leadership reminiscent of the courage that fueled Florence Nightingale to step out of her traditional nursing role during the Crimean War. Identifying areas in which nursing can benefit high-risk (sports injury) or overlooked (LGBT) patient populations is a skill each of these nurses excels in. Performing community and at times voluntary care shows these nurses’ call to duty is more than just a day job. They have all demonstrated exceptionally innovative thinking in reinventing the definition of what it means to be a nurse.
A small but noticeable difference in continuing education today is nurses and doctors receiving education and credit from the same curriculum. Nurses have taken the reins on developing educational models on reducing readmissions. Notably, there has been a longstanding struggle for nursing curriculum to rise to the level of doctor standards. Advanced nurse practitioners (NPs) have been successful in shifting from bedside to a professional role and their efforts have become a catalyst for nurses to pursue higher education. More NPs should take pride in being able to problem solve patient cases alongside doctors.
Nurses at UCSF have become valuable members of medical informatic teams. Not only have they become heavily involved in development of EHRs, but they also continue to produce training programs for hospitals such as Kaiser and the VA. Nurses are no longer shying away from the technology (EHR) that is at the forefront of healthcare innovation. Advanced practice nurses have demonstrated tremendous dedication and persistence to troubleshoot resistance from both patients and medical practitioner point of views. This has resulted in hospital-wide technology that has streamlined intake coordination and increased patient satisfaction.
Going against protocol is not typically encouraged in healthcare settings, but transport nurse Menchu Sanchez is known today for ensuring the continuity of care for her NICU patients by carrying them to nearby hospitals during the Hurricane Sandy power outage. Establishing herself as a humble public figure has earned Sanchez and nurses everywhere recognition from President Obama during his State of The Union speech. She and other innovative nurses, who have had to perform care with limited resources during a disaster, should be acknowledged for prioritizing the care of their patients over personal disciplinary action.
A recent advancement in community health care settings is the use of telehealth medicine. This application has been utilized and piloted by nurses in rural communities to target patient populations that have limited access to health care. Telehealth monitoring is a health care sector many baby boomers would benefit from when trying to maintain independent living at home. Another benefit to telemedicine has been the capability to collect and share patient data in real-time with physicians and medical team. ERs have found this helpful when triaging patients arriving from rural communities. Telehealth nurses have created a whole new discipline in nursing that is quickly spreading to hospital and home care use.
See something I missed? What inspiring innovations are on your top 5 list? Please do share in the comments section and let us know what you think!