In this age of cost containment, nurses everywhere are being asked to develop and implement innovative and efficient strategies to solve a vast array of healthcare problems.
At a recent New Jersey Collaborating Center for Nursing Summit, Susan Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, discussed unique ways action coalitions across the country have banded together to build a culture of health through nursing innovations in their own communities. Hassmiller, who serves as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation senior adviser for nursing, The Future of Nursing Campaign for Action, has worked with numerous coalitions on these efforts.
Throughout the day, nationally recognized speakers talked about diversity, inclusion and innovation with examples of successful healthcare innovations, such as New Jersey APNs providing primary care in retail pharmacies and nurses leading successful PACE programs and applying data and technology to manage care at home.
Keynote speaker Lynn Fick-Cooper, MBA, a faculty member at the Center for Creative Leadership. defined innovation as the implementation of something new that adds value or quantifiable gain, which requires many skill sets, and usually in a team. When working together in groups to generate ideas, called generative thinking, Fick-Cooper encouraged nurses to first get all options on the table and defer judgment.
She also suggested to strive for quantity (30-50 options), because quantity will create quality; seek unusual options since it’s easier to tame down wild ideas than to make weak ones exciting; recognize there are many right ideas; tolerate ambiguity; and let one option spark another, even combining ideas that don’t seem to belong together.
Recognizing that collaboration is crucial in the innovation process, she described POINT, a critical-thinking tool that can transform ideas into realities. Nurse educators are in an excellent position to lead others in generative thinking, using this approach.
• P is for Pluses: Use an affirmative approach and find the value in all ideas. The statement, “That idea is workable because it provides clear guidelines for our patient education,” demonstrates a positive and affirming approach.
• O is for Opportunities: Identify what might be positive gains in the future by adopting a particular suggestion or idea. When we say, “I can see that one of our benefits from that idea will be improved patient care,” we are recognizing future opportunities.
• I is for Issues: Identify what needs to be completed or considered with a particular idea where the group still needs to focus some of its time and energy. The statement, “The issues of follow through and staffing still need to be addressed as we develop this idea,” is supportive during this part of the process.
• NT is for New Thinking: Frame the idea in a constructive and concise way. Examples include questions such as, “How might we develop self-management strategies for our adolescent patients with diabetes?” or “In what ways might we provide more information to our elderly patients with CHF?”
There’s no doubt this kind of thinking leads to creativity. And when creativity is implemented, it becomes an innovation. We know our innovations, wherever we practice, can make a difference to our patients, staff, students and communities.
What innovations have you been involved in developing in your organization?