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A recent TEDxColumbus talk on innovation and nursing was given by Tim Raderstorf, DNP, RN. Tim is a nurse, teacher, and Chief Innovation Officer at Ohio State University, and co-author of the book Evidence-based Leadership, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship in Nursing and Healthcare.

Raderstorf opened his talk by declaring, “I am a nurse… It impacts how I think, how I care for others. Even how I pay my mortgage.”

He continued by explaining that nurses are not generally seen as innovators. They show up at the top of the list of the most trusted professions—and have done so for years—but they don’t appear on any list of most innovative professions. Sadly, nursing tends to be overlooked for its value in innovation.

We say things like “I am just a nurse,” says Raderstorf. However, he points out that innovation is most impactful when initiated by those who have the firmest understanding of the problems that need to be solved. Ergo, nurses!

As Chief Innovation Officer at Ohio State, Raderstorf is convinced that everyone has ideas that are worth pursuing. Through OSU, he provides what he calls “inspirational capital.”

The vehicle for this capital is the Ohio State University Innovation Studio, run through the OSU College of Nursing. The Innovation Studio travels the country, making 5 tour stops throughout the year, staying at a different location for 7 weeks at a time. The Studio stops are in high-traffic areas, where they invite prospective teams in and ask them what problems they are interested in solving. Using a microfinance model, the Studio awards small dollar amounts to every team that comes through the door with a good idea, ranging from $250 to $500 for the first round of funding. Teams are encouraged to come back with their next round of development for subsequent rounds of funding and continue to return until the end of 7 weeks, at which time there is a pitch day.

Raderstorf suggests that while such a program may sound like a Millennial’s pipe dream, it really is a “Participation Trophy Model of Innovation.” And it’s effective.

Among other studio graduates, a nurse who is a clinical specialist at Ross Hart Hospital headed a team to develop a tamper-proof and tamper-evident tape to go over the port of IVs to prevent opioid addicted patients from gaining direct access to IV lines. With backing from the Innovation Studio, the team ended up with an international licensing deal—after spending just $240.20 to get the idea off the ground. To view Tim Raderstorfs TEDx talk in its entirety, click here.

Koren Thomas
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