How many nurses, yourself included, have you seen find innovative solutions for everyday patient care problems using what’s around them in a resourceful and creative way? How many times have you thought, “I could sell this idea?” But that invention or improvisation never goes beyond your unit doors because you don’t have the tools or resources to take it to the next level.
Maybe you’re meant to do more. And with a little support, maybe you can.
A movement started in 2013 when the Little Devices Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology partnered with the Robert Johnson Wood Foundation to create MakerNurse. The movement is catching on, thanks to inventive nurses from the inside driving changes in healthcare delivery by developing unique solutions to clinical problems.
Case in point: Lisa Villano, RN, BSN, who invented and patented an IV protection device for pediatric patients based on the ones she and other nurses had made time and again using plastic cups and tape. And Gloriann Wolf, RN, who created a reusable tracheostomy collar to help combat the skin breakdown that she witnessed frequently in her job providing home care to chronically ill children in Illinois.
Nurses are resourceful
Jose Gomez-Marquez, director of the Little Devices Lab, says the inventive improvisations nurses make at the bedside get lost to the wider healthcare system, when they could be changing patient care. In a news release, he is quoted as saying, “We know from our research that some of the best DIY technologies being used in hospitals and clinics around the world are the inventions of nurses. Yet these stealth innovators do not receive the recognition, support, tools or training that they need to maximize their ability to transform the way healthcare is delivered.”
MakerNurse is an exciting pioneering opportunity for nurses to create lasting change in healthcare delivery, the way only nurses know how. The visibility is growing: MakerNurse has recently been featured in Fast Company online. And in September 2015, MakerNurse opened its first national makerhealth space, at the John Sealy Hospital in Galveston, Texas. There are also several mobile makerspaces springing up in institutions around the country.
Got a great idea? Get started with MakerNurse by setting up an account.
Looking for inspiration? Peruse the makernurse community page for the latest nurse hacks.
Want to create a makerspace at your institution? Check here for more information.
You can follow MakerNurse on twitter at @Makernurse.