Nurses Leading Innovation
See how nurses change human health through new protocols, policies, programs, and technologies, every day.
Nurses: Change Makers Throughout History
Throughout history, nurses have played an outsized role in interacting with patients, with critical roles in prevention, education, treatment, and recovery. Every day, nurses are bringing innovation to patient care that is changing patient outcomes. Learn more about some of the nurses throughout history whose innovative approaches to patient care helped to profoundly change human health.
57 Articles
  • In San Francisco General Hospital’s Ward 5B and 5A, nurses like Guy Vandenberg, RN, treated HIV/AIDS patients with compassion and found innovative ways to improve care. The film 5B shares the stories of those who worked in the ward in the 1980s, but Guy shares why the film is so relevant for today.
  • VA nurse researcher Shannon Munro, PhD, APRN, BC, FNP, discovered an easy and inexpensive solution to reduce cases of hospital-acquired pneumonia in her hospital: encouraging patients to brush their teeth. Munro explains the science behind the nurse-led innovative program, HAPPEN.
  • At UnitedHealth Group’s Center for Clinician Advancement, nurse leader Mary Jo Jerde, MBA, BSN, RN, FAAN, and her team are energizing clinicians to innovate in new areas of healthcare and become leaders in their profession through programs that encourage nurses to challenge the status quo.
  • By empowering black women professional nurses to own and operate their own sustainable healthcare clinic, the Unjani Clinic initiative is transforming healthcare in South Africa by helping alleviate burdens on public health systems and improving access to quality, affordable primary care.
  • Frustrated by the quality of the dressing for her son’s blood transfusion port, nurse innovator Abi Huskins, RN, BSN, CPN, used what she had at home- Play-Doh, a cork and a spare needle- to invent a prototype of a medical device that could help her son and others with sickle cell anemia.
  • Bringing together students of multiple backgrounds, majors, and experience levels, the Master of Healthcare Innovation program at The Ohio State University College of Nursing is empowering today’s healthcare leaders to embrace human-centered design and develop their pioneering solutions.
  • From socks that monitor heart failure to a tool that aims to predict developmental outcomes in newborns, nurse innovators around the world are developing solutions with the potential to change human health. Meet five nurses who are transforming what it means to be on the frontlines of care.
  • Shaken by the experience of witnessing a child nearly die from heat exhaustion after accidentally being left in a hot car, emergency room nurse Maria Striemer, RN, BA, channeled her insight to invent the Backseet Buddy, an app that provides parents with peace of mind that it won’t happen to them.
  • At this year’s Aspen Ideas: Health Festival, Johnson & Johnson sponsored two sessions that invited healthcare innovators and changemakers from around the world to share their stories of why and how they’re shaping a world where everyone can thrive.
  • At the dawn of the AIDS epidemic —when no one knew how the disease spread and diagnosis was considered terminal — the nurses in San Francisco General Hospital’s HIV/AIDS Ward 5B defied convention, found an innovative way to improve care and treated AIDS patients with compassion.
  • Together with the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), Johnson & Johnson is proud to announce the Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge in Maternal and Newborn Health, inviting nurses to submit their ideas to improve maternal and newborn care.
  • Chief Nursing Optimization Officer Betty Jo Rocchio, MS, BSN, CRNA, CENP, and her team at Mercy are using technology, data and analytics to create environments that provide nurses more time at the bedside doing what they do best: caring for patients and developing innovative solutions.
  • Johnson & Johnson is proud to announce the Johnson & Johnson Nurse Innovation Platform, which aims to enable and elevate the visibility and impact of nurse-led innovation in transforming human health.
  • Following her recent keynote at the 2019 ONS Congress, we sat down with nurse inventor and advocate Rachel Walker, PhD, RN, to get her perspective on how we can increase participation in the healthcare innovation space from nurses of all backgrounds and at any stage of their careers.
  • We’re excited to announce that the awardees of the first Johnson & Johnson Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge are Lauren Wright, CEO and Founder at The Natural Nipple, and Abby Hess, nurse inventor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Read more about their great ideas to change human health.
  • Johnson & Johnson proudly supported nurse innovators and entrepreneurs this April who are profoundly changing human health and moving healthcare forward. Learn more about our presence at several of this month’s largest nursing conferences, including NSNA Convention, AORN Expo, and ONS Congress.
  • In collaboration with the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), we’re excited to announce the Johnson & Johnson Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge in Perioperative Care. We’re inviting nurses to submit their innovative ideas to improve perioperative care and change human health.
  • In observance of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we’re sharing our interview with nurse innovator and educator Sheri Carson, DNP, CPNP-PC, who embraced the challenge of creating a comprehensive child abuse screening program and is hoping to inspire other nurses to bring their solutions forward.
  • Taura Barr, RN, PhD, FAHA, Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer at Valtari Bio Inc. is developing a new bedside diagnostic tool to help triage suspected stroke patients in the emergency room setting.
  • Nurses are more likely to come in contact with human trafficking victims during the time of their exploitation than any other profession[1], but very few are identified by staff and helped to find safety. Nurse innovator Danielle Jordan Bastien, APRN, DNP, FNP-BC, was determined to help those potential victims who might be in danger by developing a screening protocol that helps healthcare workers identify signs of abuse.
  • Significant healthcare innovations are often developed in response to issues encountered by providers, including nurses. When it became evident there was a way to provide more efficient care to some of the smallest, most fragile patients – babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) – Erin Hoch, RN, BSN, was determined to bring her innovative idea to life. Working at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital in Loma Linda, Calif., Erin’s idea has helped to improve the feeding process for these newborn patients.
  • As a nurse with experience in emergency medicine and administration, along with time spent in the U.S. Army National Guard, Wayne Nix, MBA, RN, RRT, has seen firsthand how valuable a diversified background is for fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in healthcare. Image
  • When Hiyam Nadel, RN, MBA, CGC, gives lectures to nurses, she often begins by showing a roll of tape and asking a simple question: “How many things have you done with a piece of tape - making modifications to equipment that wasn’t working quite right?”
  • Throughout history, nurses have played an outsized role in interacting with patients, with critical roles in prevention, education, treatment, and recovery. Every day, nurses are bringing innovation to patient care that is changing patient outcomes. Learn more about some of the nurses throughout history whose innovative approaches to patient care helped to profoundly change human health.
  • Rebecca S. Koszalinski, PhD, RN, CRRN, CMSRN, was inspired to become a nurse after experiencing a nurse’s care during her own health journey.
  • Show your support for nurse innovators who are #ChangingHumanHealth with our custom “Nurses Change Lives” Facebook frame.
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    As the healthcare industry becomes more focused on innovation as a pathway to improving patient outcomes, nurses are stepping up as leaders and innovators, turning their frontline experience into creative solutions to improve patient care. Across her various positions at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), Marion Leary, RN, MSN, MPH, FAHA, is focused on researching ways that nurse-led initiatives can improve healthcare now and in the future.
  • As the first nurse to be selected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and The Lemelson Foundation as an AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador, Rachel Walker, PhD, RN, is intimately familiar with nurse-driven innovation and the significant impact it has on healthcare. Dr. Walker is a nurse inventor, former rural emergency medical and disaster relief worker, assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst College of Nursing, and advocate for nurses as leaders in healthcare innovation and improvement.
  • After a nearly 20-year nursing career, Patricia (Tricia) Cady, RN, ADN, BSN, decided to return to school to pursue her BSN at the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Nursing, where she observed a long-standing problem with extubations in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). To help address this issue, Tricia developed the idea for the Cady Hug, a flexible vest that helps protect neonates from accidental extubations while keeping them comfortable and their tubes accessible for their care providers.
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    Congenital heart disease (CHD) affects an estimated 40,000 babies born every year, making it the most common birth defect found in infants. Though some forms of CHD do not result in health problems later in life, about 25 percent of infants with CCHD have a critical CHD, which can lead to negative outcomes if not diagnosed soon after birth.
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    For years, the best practice for protecting a certain type of birth defect called an omphalocele before surgery was to dry it out, which shrinks the surface area of the exposed organs, but requires a lengthy hospital stay. Enter Roxana Reyna, MSN, RNC-NIC, WCC, CWOCN, FNP-C, a nurse with 20 years experience as a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
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    While working for Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids, Mich., Lauran Hardin, MSN, RN-BC, CNL, met one patient whose complex social issues and challenging life circumstances led to his frequent visits to the emergency room — not because he was injured or sick, but because he needed somewhere to go to feel safe. She realized that there is much more complexity to every patient than just their medical conditions, and healthcare providers can make a difference for these vulnerable people.
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    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.
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    Earlier this month at the 66th Annual National Student Nurses’ Association Convention in Nashville, Tenn., Rebecca Love, MSN, RN, ANP, addressed thousands of student nurses at the plenary session hosted by Johnson & Johnson, and inspired them to redefine the nursing profession through innovation and entrepreneurship.
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    In an environment like a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), constant improvements and dedication to patient safety are essential to provide efficient, up-to-date care. Maureen Maurano, BSN, RN, NICU nurse manager at Children’s National in Washington, D.C., knows firsthand how important patient-focused care is and has implemented initiatives at the hospital that ensure top-level care for the smallest, most fragile patients.
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    Each year, the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival brings together the world’s most forward-thinking industry leaders to talk about today’s best practices and tomorrow’s most exciting trends. SXSW Interactive sessions highlight recent technology advancements and feature forward-thinking innovators looking to make positive change around the world. This year, SXSW featured a panel comprised of some of healthcare’s top innovators: nurses.
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    In today’s modern world, technology and innovation are essential to furthering the nursing profession. As the founder and CEO of NurseGrid, Joe Novello, BSN, RN, is using his nursing skills to help improve the nursing profession and advance outcomes for patients.
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    Advances in technology are helping healthcare providers improve outcomes for patients of all ages, including babies born with single ventricle heart disease.
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    From founding new nursing organizations to creating new cardiac surgery programs, Patricia “Trish” C. Seifert, MSN, RN, CNOR, FAAN, a perioperative cardiac surgery consultant from Falls Church, Va., has used her nursing background in many different ways. We had the chance to talk to her about her career, leadership, mentorship, and asking the important questions.
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    By providing bedside care, nurses often have unique insights into the needs of specific patient populations.
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    Public awareness and interest in all things “green” has created a need for nurses to understand environmental issues and their relationship to health with credible, evidence-based information, as well as provide leadership in making the necessary changes in our policies and practices.
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    In many isolated areas around the United States, nurses play a significant role in ensuring rural communities have access to quality healthcare. Rural nurses typically work in critical care nursing, trauma, labor and delivery, as well as in typical nursing duties like attending to patients who are sick or injured.
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    When a patient is in critical care, nurses are there through every step of their care, from performing assessments and administering therapies, to educating patient families and opening new pathways to improving patient care.
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    “It’s important to have nurses at the table making decisions, because we can translate information from the bedside to the boardroom.” —Brandon “Kit” Bredimus, director of emergency services at Midland Memorial Hospital
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    When you hear the word “hackathon,” you may not necessarily envision a room full of nurses brainstorming ideas. However, at the “Nurse Hackathon: Nurses Hacking HealthCare” event, nurses are leading the problem solving and developing solutions to issues in healthcare.
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    “If you hear that little voice inside you or have that little nudge to take action on an idea, go for it. Nurses are in the best position to fully see the patient experience and understand firsthand the care delivery process. Every day, as we go through the critical tasks of patient care, we see opportunities for improvement.” — Christine O'Brien MSHI, RN
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    "Our first exchange involved a mother-son pair from Toledo and a married couple from Cincinnati, and it was a great success. Soon enough, people from outside Ohio started asking to work with us." - Susan Rees, RN, BSN, Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation
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    According to the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), for many people a successful kidney transplant can provide a better quality of life. Kidney transplant may mean greater freedom, reduced cost, more energy and a less strict diet than patients on dialysis. Nurses play an integral role in helping patients go through the transplant process and helping match live donors with patients in need of a kidney.
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    On the surface, big data and nursing may seem unrelated. However, nurses contribute to the collection of big data every day by capturing health information via electronic health record (EHR) systems. But how is this data being used? We sat down with John M. Welton, Ph. D., RN, FAAN, a professor at the University of Colorado College of Nursing, to learn more about how big data is transforming nursing practice.
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    What is the true cost of nursing care? How can hospitals build efficient nursing care systems that maximize value? These are the types of questions John M. Welton, Ph. D., RN, FAAN, a professor at the University of Colorado College of Nursing, is trying to answer as a scientist for health systems research. Read on to learn about his career journey and how his research is using big data to improve health care.
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    Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass., conducted a research study to determine if a robot could assist nurses in scheduling and other managerial tasks on the labor and delivery floor.
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    Arizona State University, the Phoenix Symphony and a team from the Huger Mercy Living Center in Phoenix, Ariz., collaborated on the “Music & Memory” research project, to learn the impact of live music on people living with Alzheimer’s disease.
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    “When the music played, the patients went to a beautiful place in their mind. We saw them dancing or tapping their feet and moving their heads. It was amazing to watch.” - Kristine Carpina, LPN
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    "Today’s nursing leaders have taken a stronger leadership role in healthcare. It is important to have nurses at the table to make strategic decisions regarding patient care delivery." - Theresa M. Davis, Ph.D., RN, NE-BC, is the clinical operations director of Inova Telemedicine enVision eICU in Falls Church, Virginia.
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    Mary Frances Bruckmeier, RN, BSN, is a public health nurse with the Pima County Health Department in Tucson, Ariz. Several times a week, she spends her days at the Pima County Public Library, where she helps anyone in need seeking healthcare.
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    Kerrie Klepfer and Jennifer LeBlanc are intensive care unit (ICU) nurses at Duke Raleigh Hospital in Raleigh, N.C. They are two of the four-person nurse team from their ICU that completed the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Clinical Scene Investigator (CSI) Academy. Their team’s project, “Walk this Way: Early Progressive Mobility in the ICU,” saved Duke Raleigh hospital nearly three million dollars, and their recommendations about increased patient mobility in the ICU have become a standard practice of care in their hospital, as well as hospitals around the world. Read on to learn more about the inspiration for their project and insights about their journey through nursing.
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    Nursing informatics (NI), as defined by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), is a “specialty that integrates nursing science with multiple information management and analytical sciences to identify, define, manage, and communicate data, information, knowledge and wisdom in nursing practice.” Nursing informaticists combine nursing knowledge with information technologies to develop more efficient processes, advance healthcare and provide exceptional patient care.
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