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Nurse entrepreneurship leads to hospital innovation


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A large part of the job of nursing is translating best practices and standards into effective bedside treatment. Every day, nurses find little ways to make their job easier, improve patient safety, and create better hospital experiences. With this in mind, two Boston-area facilities have created programs to give nurses the opportunity to develop and share their innovations beyond their practice.

Northeastern University began the Nurse Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which connects nurses to resources and guidance to help implement their ideas in 2016. Since then, the program has attracted 1,600 people to their events, connected over 20 nurses to business mentors to develop their ideas, and plans to offer a certification program this winter.

Rebecca Love, RN, MSN, ANP
, the director of the program, said research shows that nurses spend a significant portion of each shift using workarounds and making impromptu fixes to ineffective processes or equipment. This demonstrates creativity in practice that, with the proper support and direction, can develop into new tools and procedures that will improve the delivery of medicine.

Massachusetts General Hospital
offers similar support to its nurses, providing grants to nurses and patient care professionals that have ideas to improve the facility’s operation. One participant, Jared Jordan, is using the grant program to develop a harness the will allow patients to use the bathroom with minimal supervision without risk of falling. The grant will help Jordan prototype the harness and foster a potential business partnership with the hospital.

Programs like these hope to elevate nurses as innovators in medicine and place them on equal footing with other healthcare professionals. “Nursing historically has not been at the top of the hierarchy,” said Tim Raderstorf, MSN, RN, chief innovation officer at The Ohio State University College of Nursing. “Although we are the largest profession in health care, we tend to have the least influence when it comes to making decisions.”

Source: Boston Globe