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Inspiring the Next Generation of Nurse Innovators

Female nurse in scrubs hanging X-rays up
Nancy P. Hanrahan, PhD, RN, FAAN, executive director and associate dean of healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship at the Bouve College of Health Sciences and professor and former dean of the School of Nursing at Northeastern University, is firmly committed to evolving the reputation of nursing.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Nurse Innovators

Nancy P. Hanrahan, PhD, RN, FAAN, executive director and associate dean of healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship at the Bouve College of Health Sciences and professor and former dean of the School of Nursing at Northeastern University, is firmly committed to evolving the reputation of nursing.
Female nurse in scrubs hanging X-rays up

As an internationally recognized leader in developing innovative interventions, Nancy aims to change public perception of nursing from a passive profession limited to basic bedside care, and to provide the next generation of nurses with the business and entrepreneurial skills needed to make healthcare innovation an essential and recognized role for all nurses.

When Nancy began her career as a psychiatric nurse, she quickly realized nurses were often on the receiving end of innovative technologies and policies, but needed to be more intimately involved in the development of such innovations as major players in every stage of patient care. This awareness stuck with Nancy throughout her career. Shortly after assuming her role as dean, the Northeastern School of Nursing hosted its first Nurse Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summit & Hackathon, a three-day event which brings together hundreds of attendees from around the country to brainstorm solutions to current healthcare issues.

The outpouring of positive feedback drove Nancy to create a Nursing Innovation & Entrepreneurship (NIE) program at Northeastern University, that aims to redefine nursing education by incorporating skills in business, innovation and entrepreneurship to provide nurses with a holistic view of the healthcare system before they even begin their careers. The program’s goal is to bridge the clinical environment with academics, giving nurses access to training, data, and mentorship needed to put strategic thinking into practice.

“The scope of the nursing profession has changed,” Nancy said. “Nurses are also technicians and strategists, and the environment can be very intense. We as nurses are innovators no matter where we are, and we have been all along. For so long, we didn’t have the resources or forum to implement change – our curriculum gives that to nurses.”

While the expectations of nurses continue to evolve and expand, the profession’s positive reputation is steadfast. In fact, Gallup published poll results in December 2017 citing nurses as the nation’s most ethical, trusted profession – for the 16th year in a row.

“Patients value their nurses,” Nancy said. “Nurses should feel empowered to build off this strength and carry forward innovations that power positive patient outcomes. Even small modifications can contribute to huge innovations.”

Nancy’s commitment to nursing innovation reaches far beyond the campus of Northeastern University. The NIE program hosts a range of informative and collaborative events to connect nurses at every career stage from around the country with mentors and career sponsors, including the Hackathon series. The program also offers a nurse leadership and entrepreneurship certificate designed for mid-career nurses in two formats: a three-credit version that can be used as an elective for graduate and doctoral tracks, as well as a 30-contact hour version.

“When nurses come out of their undergraduate education with a business knowledge and the ability and confidence to execute new ideas, it brings nurses to the forefront of leadership in the healthcare industry,” Nancy said.

Johnson & Johnson is proud to share Nancy’s commitment to supporting the next generation of innovative nurses. During National Nurses Week, celebrate nurse innovators alongside Johnson & Johnson and Northeastern University by sharing videos featuring Roxana Reyna, MSN, RNC-NIC, WCC, CWOCN, FNP-C, and Elizabeth B. Mikula, MSN, RN, CPN, CPHQ, on the Johnson & Johnson Nursing Facebook and Twitter pages between May 6 and 12. For each time the video is shared or retweeted between May 6th and May 12th, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 to support Northeastern University School of Nursing innovation summits.* 

To learn more about nurse innovation and entrepreneurship at Northeastern University, visit the program’s website.

*The organization will receive a minimum of donation amount of $25,000 and up to $35,000.

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