We need innovators in a crisis, and during the pandemic, the nursing community has been bursting with new ideas and creative solutions to improve patient care and public health. One of the biggest boosters of nurses’ role in healthcare innovation is the American Nurses Association (ANA), which has just announced the winners of its 2021 fourth annual Innovation Awards.
Individual Innovation Winner
Awards are nothing new for RN Rebecca Cherney. The Michigan Medicine Intermediate Care Nurse won the hospital’s Nurse Hero award last year for an above-and-beyond 3D printing project she organized to counter the state’s PPE shortage last spring.
Cherney really stepped up her innovation game, though, when she developed her breakthrough TrachTrail ™ program, the ANA’s 2021 Individual Innovation Award winner. Michigan Medicine describes it as “the first comprehensive, standardized adult tracheostomy care education program of its kind, focusing on combined nurse, patient and caregiver training.” The ANA Innovation team noted that Covid-19 has increased the need for adult tracheostomies by 15-20%. Cherney’s bright idea fills an important gap at a vital time, the ANA explained: “There were few standardized training programs available for adults in the self-care of tracheostomies before discharge, leaving nurses unable to effectively instruct patients and caregivers in the skills needed to care for their tracheostomy at-home.”
Cherney’s accessible multimedia guide has already been road-tested, and the data suggest that it can help to improve new tracheostomy patients’ quality of life. While testing TrachTrail™ on a progressive care unit in 2017, the length of hospital stays on the unit dropped from an average of 64.8 days to an average of 16.6 days, and a wider hospital implementation is planned for 2021-2022. (For a detailed study on the TrachTrail™, see this May 2020 study co-authored by Cherney).
Nurse-Led Team Innovation Winners
This year’s nurse-led team award is being presented to a pair of entrepreneurial DNPs. Dr. Pritma Dhillon-Chattha, DNP, MHA, RN and Dr. Brighid A. Gannon DNP, PMHNP-BC met at Yale when they both enrolled in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. After receiving their DNPs in 2018, Dhillon-Chattha returned to Canada to open a cosmetics injectables company, while Gannon founded a nursing home consulting group in New York with 14 psychiatric nurse practitioners. The pair had talked about possible joint business ventures before, but when the pandemic arrived, they engaged in serious brainstorming. The result? Lavender, an online psychotherapy service.
Both DNPs agreed that they had to work fast, and they had to work smart. Gannon, a New Yorker, told the Yale School of Nursing News, “We recognized that there was a time-sensitive need. New York was literally in crisis. Part of our mission was that we wanted to help people as soon as possible. We wanted to launch quickly, even if things weren’t perfect.” As Gannon started recruiting psychiatric NPs, Dhillon-Chattha employed her clinical informatics expertise and focused on the technology. They opened Lavender in May 2020.
Unlike brick-and-mortar psychotherapy offices—many of which had to hastily adjust their systems to accommodate virtual appointments, Gannon and Dhillon-Chattha designed their practice to specifically address the needs of online therapy. This helped them to avoid the common pitfalls encountered by office-based practices. Gannon recounted some of the key pain points: “So many of my colleagues are fully booked and have no more referrals. [And as] many providers don’t offer email as a method of contact, getting a hold of them by phone is near impossible. There’s no pricing transparency, and no one will tell you how much these services actually cost. What a shame that when you’re already feeling down and struggling that the process of accessing mental health services is re-traumatizing.”
Dillon-Chattha told the Yale School of Nursing, “Telehealth has been a viable option for many years, and now the system is being forced to embrace it. COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of telehealth by at least five years. This will help seniors, rural patients, and those with different abilities safely access the care they need.”
The individual nurse and nurse-led team winners will be awarded $25,000 and $50,000, respectively, to support the development and implementation of their products over the next year. Award winners have a year to further develop their projects and will share their outcomes and findings in 2022.
Tending to a sleeping patient in a dark room is like navigating a cartoon-style obstacle course. You could experiment with all sorts of awkward maneuvers, contortions, perhaps even juggling. At the end of your experiments, you’d probably conclude that even if it is not impossible, working in the dark sets the scene for a host of mishaps and errors that can endanger your patients. So, most night shift nurses turn on the lights in a patient’s room an average of nine times an evening. Nurse of the Week Anthony Scarpone-Lambert, a 21-year-old nursing senior at the University of Pennsylvania, and Johnson & Johnson Nurse Innovation Fellow, Jennifferre Mancillas, RN, BSN, RNC-NIC decided to devise a way to help nurses work in the dark without disturbing patients’ slumber times.
Scarpone-Lambert and Mancillas, who met at the 2019 Johnson & Johnson nurse hackathon, surveyed 250 nurses and learned that 87% of them have trouble seeing during those night-time visits. “When nurses can’t see, we put our patients and ourselves at risk. This leads us to turn on intrusive overhead room lights that disrupt our patients,” Mancillas elaborated for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Such sudden awakenings deprive patients of much-needed rest, and can slow recovery. The innovative pair came up with a solution: the uNight Light, a wearable 2×1-inch LED light.
The nurse-entrepreneurs describe their invention as “The first-ever wearable LED light made specifically for frontline healthcare workers, allowing you to illuminate your workspace while decreasing patient sleep disturbances by 70%.” They add, “Inspired from the military, our device comes with three light settings [white, blue, and red] to optimize your ability to care for patients and remain alert. uNight Light’s brightness has been tested to give the perfect balance of illumination; keeping you safe and your patients asleep.”
Other nurses have essayed hacks of their own. As one NP related to the New York Times, “I had a co-worker who would wear those night lights that runners use on his forehead,” but the Forehead Night Nurse Light, alas, was not a runner, and lacked legs. The uNight Light, however, has some ardent supporters.
As for Scarpone-Lambert, his instructors, the J&J judges, and SONSIEL’s Rebecca Love, co-editor of The Rebel Nurse Handbook—which was awarded third place in the 2020 AJN Book of the Year Awards in Professional Issues—all seem to agree that the U Penn senior is going places. Bobbi Martin, president and CEO of the Global Nurse Foundation, said, “He just doesn’t quit, and never stops at ‘no’. He gets people excited.” Speaking to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Love, president of the Society of Nurse Scientists, Innovators, Entrepreneurs, and Leaders (SONSIEL), said Scarpone-Lambert stands out for “his drive, character, and passion. And Anthony operates at a different speed, thinking six steps ahead. He is one of the individuals with the potential to be a moonshot in the nursing profession, and I don’t say that lightly.”
Strong words to live up to, but Scarpone-Lambert seems poised to take off even before his pinning ceremony.
Awarded 3rd Place, Professional Issues - AJN Books of the Year, 2020
The Rebel Nurse Handbook
Inspirational Stories by Shift Disruptors
Featuring stories from over 40 diverse nurse leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs, the Rebel Nurses featured in this book are pushing the boundaries of their profession.
The judge commented that “What I loved about this book is that the authors made complex leadership and business topics accessible and interesting by sharing leaders’ personal stories… Provides actionable and practical strategies students can use to further their own development… Readable and clear, it is sure to be a favorite among students.”
TR: “I love hearing that, by the way. I’m so grateful for the comment about the book. Because you know, when I went into academia, I committed to never writing a book, because I don’t learn particularly well through reading books. It’s just how my brain is wired.
And two, I’ve never, I have never heard anyone say ‘I love a textbook’ before… Click here to continue reading this story.
Founded in 2017, The Ohio State University Innovation Studio is run by the OSU College of Nursing and Center for Healthcare Innovation and Wellness. In normal times, the Innovation Studio travels the country, encouraging students to create healthcare solutions, and helping them to use technology to develop their ideas into marketable new products.
How has the pandemic affected the innovation program? DailyNurse spoke to Tim Raderstorf, MSN, RN, the co-founder of the Innovation Studio and Chief Innovation Officer (as well as Clinical Instructor of Practice) at the OSU School of Nursing. Dr. Raderstorf has conducted neurosurgical research on Tethered Spinal Cord Syndrome, but his passion is healthcare innovation.
Before the pandemic, when he wasn’t teaching, Raderstorf traveled the country with OSU’s mobile Innovation Studio. He is also an expert on the role of innovation in nurse leadership and is now an award-winning textbook author. Evidence-Based Leadership, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship in Nursing and Healthcare, the textbook Raderstorf co-wrote with OSU School of Nursing Dean Bernadette Melnyk was an American Journal of Nursing (AJN) Book of the Year, winning first place honors in its category. (In Part Two, he discusses the book and explains why he found the judge’s comments particularly gratifying)…. click to continue reading.
As colleges and universities around the country struggle with burgeoning outbreaks of COVID-19, students at Ohio State University are trying to find ways to make campus life safer. The Safe and Healthy Campus Innovation Challenge, hosted by OSU’s College of Nursing Center for Healthcare Innovation and Wellness and the Offices of the Chief Wellness Officer and Student Life is accepting student submissions from August 24 through September 7.
The Innovation Challenge is focusing on three key areas:
Physical distancing (on- and off-campus student housing, bars/restaurants, etc.)
Wearing of face masks/coverings
Mental health and well-being
Student innovators are being encouraged to form cross-disciplinary teams to pitch ideas that can be implemented in the OSU community. Winning pitches will receive financial backing and be paired with a faculty or staff mentor. First and Second place projects will be announced on September 21.
College of Nursing Dean and Chief Wellness Officer Bernadette Melnyk commented, “There is a tremendous spirit of innovation at Ohio State, and we know our awesome and creative students can identify new ideas and solutions… that will promote optimal health and well-being for the whole university. They will help us foster the safest and healthiest campus community possible.”
Tim Raderstorf, chief innovation officer for the College of Nursing and co-editor with Dr. Melnyk of Evidence-Based Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Nursing and Healthcare, thinks students will prove to be natural innovators: “Administrators and leaders are not usually the best people to solve the problem. The best people to solve problems are the people who experience them firsthand. There’s no better group for us to be reaching out to than students because they know the problems intimately and know what solutions may be feasible for them.”
As the founder of OSU’s Innovation Studio, Raderstorf is speaking from experience. He advised student innovators that “We’re not asking everyone to come to us with a life-altering, game-changing idea. What we’re asking for is the best idea that you have right now. We’re going to try everything within our power to help your ideas rise to the top.”
Evidence-Based Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Nursing and Healthcare:
A Practical Guide to Success
This new book provides a clear path for readers to integrate innovation and leadership principles into their careers and daily practice. The text is enhanced by individualized quotes and first-person accounts from healthcare leaders. Chapters offer objectives and case studies, “Calls to Action” to help readers develop leadership skills, and “Key Takeaway Points.” Podcasts with top leadership figures in healthcare discuss how they meet challenges.
Nurses are generating a host of innovations to resolve healthcare pain points during the age of COVID. At the Nurse Hack 4 Health virtual hackathon, a project to make telehealth more accessible to rural Americans and a “GPS” that helps hospital nurses quickly locate available equipment were just two of the five winning ideas that emerged from the May meeting of minds.
Some 30 teams of nursing innovators competed in the hackathon, and five winning proposals were chosen by a team of judges from Johnson & Johnson, SONSIEL (Society of Nurse Scientists, Innovators, Entrepreneurs, and Leaders), Microsoft, dev up, and prominent independent nurse-entrepreneurs and leaders. Over the summer, SONSIEL and Microsoft will have business and technical mentoring meetings with the winning teams. The teams presented the following stand-out projects:
Well Nurse (Resiliency and Self-Care category), a peer-to-peer app to help nurses cope with stress, connect with one another, and identify best practices to foster mental well-being. “The end goal is that the application will be not only functional, but a helpful resource for nurses facing mental health challenges,” says team member Charlene Platon. Team members: Chris Caulfield, Charlene Platon, Ahnyel Burkes, Jillian Littlefield, Kathy Shaffer, Kristy Peterson, Natale Burton, Xiaoyun Cong, Anil Punjabi, Laura Deschere.
HearNow (Acute Care Patient Monitoring category) is designed to connect patients and their loved ones at times of social distancing and also accommodates the usual communication issues in acute care. With this system, loved ones can transmit video and audio messages from home that nurses can share when patients are alert and in need of comfort. Team members: Molly Higgins, Kelly Ayala, Sabine Clasen, Rosemary Yetman.
Activate School Nurses (Data and Reporting category) connects short-staffed school system nurses with nursing students to manage school re-openings and maintain and monitor student health data to reduce the danger of further outbreaks. Team members: Joanna Seltzer Uribe, LeAnthony Mathewshttps, Blanca Badgett, Ramona Ramadas, Chris Young, Lacey Sprague, Brian Goldenberg, Pao-Chu Tseng, Pramila Thapa.
Nurse GPS (Patient Care Coordination category) is a technology that provides nurses with the floor and room location of urgently needed equipment. The aim of the project is to reduce delays in obtaining equipment and lessen the danger of infection by making it unnecessary for a nurse to leave and reenter a room multiple times. Team members: Subbu Venkat, Mary Kavalam, Ian Kerman, Julie Gerlinger.
Project Flourish (Remote Patient Monitoring category) seeks to broaden the reach of telemedicine in rural areas and among senior citizens by working around obstacles such as a lack of broadband access and smartphones. Primarily making use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) 1990s-era technology such as Nokia flip-phones, care providers can make contact and receive health data from patients who lack technical literacy and/or present-day devices. Team members: Joshua Littlejohn, Kim Bistrong, Lisa Rickers, Biemba Maliti.
For details about the hackathon, visit the Nurse Hack 4 Health Home page.