Nursing Education

Three Examples of Innovation in Nursing That Everyone Can Appreciate

A short video clip with concrete examples of innovations developed by nursing students to create impactful change

Hear innovation expert Dr. Tiffany Kelley share three real-life and inspiring examples of innovation developed by nursing students.


Tiffany Kelley:

So, these are just three examples of students that have been able to really take their ideas or their thoughts of, “I feel like this could be done better, or why is it that this isn’t happening?”

So, I’m going to explain these three stories. The first one on the left is one of our undergraduate students early in her undergraduate career, was in a course where they asked her to identify a challenge or something that needed to be improved. And she was in a group that was not just nursing students, and noticed in one of her labs that every time you go to take a glove out of a glove box that half a dozen of them or maybe more, sort of trickle out, and started to see this happening a lot and thought, “This seems like this is kind of an issue. Why is this happening?” And so, she ended up working to create a technology she calls ReduSeal, to be able to reduce glove waste, so that you’re at a greater likelihood of just pulling one glove instead of a half a dozen that fall on the floor.

And then, some of them, people stick them back in the box, which I hope isn’t really something that’s happening very often, or they throw them in the trash so there’s waste there. Throughout her journey, and this idea that sparked, we had the ability to support her efforts. She was able to go on to form a team and received several awards, non-dilutive grant funding. She actually filed a patent while in undergrad, and graduated with a patent from the USPTO before becoming a nurse. So, that’s just one idea that, from something she happened to see in a classroom and thought, “This doesn’t really make a lot of sense. I’d like to see if this is something I can pursue.”

The second example in the middle is from a student who really has an interest in public policy. And for those of you that get American Nurse Today, there was an article that was in the most recent version that mentioned there has never been a nurse in the Senate in history. And so, this student ended up applying for a internship in DC. She really wanted that experience, and was selected and had a wonderful time over in Washington, DC over the summer. And that’s an experiential learning opportunity to understand the process of, “How do I get involved in policy? How might I be able to influence that?” So, that’s another type of way in which we as a profession can really help direct what the future of healthcare looks like.

And then, the third example here was during the height of COVID, we had launched our Healthcare Innovation Certificate Program in January, 2020. And then, about six weeks later is when we were all really starting to see COVID come at us quite quickly, and the students were in the midst of trying to identify a problem that they felt as though they wanted to work to solve. One of our students is a nurse at a hospital in Boston, and noticed that nurses were pulling out their phones to help connect patients with family members or friends because the visitor restrictions were such that people couldn’t come visit.

And this was happening so frequently that she thought, “There should be a technology that can support this, regardless of COVID or regardless of having my phone, but allowing people to be able to communicate with one another, without needing me to be here or someone else’s device to be here.” And so, she actually, through the program, has created a product, she’s launched a company and is working to bring that to market. So, these are three different examples, two from undergrad, one from a graduate level, but just of how an idea stemming from a problem that someone’s seeing and feeling can lead to us to create opportunities and pathways for students to pursue that align with their interests and what they’re seeing in healthcare today.