Nurse’s Innovative App is Giving a Voice to the Voiceless
Throughout her career as a clinical instructor, researcher, assistant professor, and – most recently – mobile app developer, Rebecca has been committed to improving outcomes for patients with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses who are speech vulnerable. Available for use on iPads and Android tablets, Rebecca’s Speak for Myself® app helps patients communicate pain, fear, anxiety, and loneliness with their healthcare providers, and allows patients to make requests regarding physical needs, such as using the restroom.
Rebecca recently shared her innovation story with us, and her hope that other nurses will be inspired to effect changes in patient care, too.
At one point, after a two-week hospitalization, I decided I wanted to go home. One of the nurses heard my plans and asked me what I needed to ensure I would stay at the hospital. I told her I wanted to go outside; however, I could not walk and was wrapped in bandages from my hips to my toes. It seemed impossible. She stayed past the end of her shift to help me, bundling me in a wheelchair and propping up my legs to take me outside. It was amazing, and I was interested in nursing from that point forward.
As a result of my personal health journey, I am sensitive to the needs of people who have disabilities and/or chronic illnesses. I accepted the position at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) because they are front-runners in innovation and technology. I am a collaborator in the Health Innovation Technology & Simulation Lab and have numerous other opportunities for collaboration across the university.
I am also developing a nurse-led delivery model with the East Tennessee Technology Access Center for care of people in the community with disability and/or chronic illness who are communication vulnerable. I am looking forward to what this academic year brings, and to my future contributions to nursing science, technology, and innovation!