How a Nurse-Led Start-Up is Creating the Future of the Night Shift
Phone flashlights. Pen lights. Bathroom lights. These are all the ways night shift nurses have traditionally navigated delivering patient care in the dark. Night shift nurses play vital and often unsung roles in monitoring patients and delivering care while everyone else is asleep. However, most people don’t realize that during a single night shift, nurses may turn on their patient's room light an average of 9 times, which could disrupt a patient’s sleep while they’re getting much-needed rest and potentially worsening their health and wellbeing.
At the SONSIEL Nurse Hackathon in November 2019, an innovative team of nurses called “Nightvision Care” came together to solve this problem. Throughout the event, the team ideated on a light-based solution that could allow night shift nurses – about 30% of the nursing workforce – and additional frontline healthcare workers to provide safe and effective care without turning on the lights in a patient’s room. According to the team, the innovative concept could also help improve health outcomes by preventing mistakes that might occur in darkness, such as reading orders incorrectly or errors in administering medication. After a weekend of networking and collaboration alongside 19 other impressive nurse teams, the Nightvision Care team was awarded first place after pitching their solution before a panel of judges, who were impressed by both the simplicity of their design and its potential impact on the night shift.
“We didn’t know each other before the Nurse Hackathon, but we ended up meshing extremely well,” said Anthony Scarpone-Lambert, Hillman Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. “Our team consisted of nine nurses of diverse experiences, including night shift nurses, healthcare administrators, researchers and an army nurse. We were inspired by insights from the military and the idea of a light-based solution that could help support night shift nurses. When nurses come together to solve healthcare’s greatest challenges, magic truly happens!”
Today, four nurses from the original Nightvision Care team have continued to work to bring this innovative, by nurses for nurses product to market, driven by their mission to create safer and more comfortable conditions for both patients and night shift nurses:
● Anthony Scarpone-Lambert, Chief Executive Officer; BSN/PhD student through the Hillman Scholars Program in Nursing Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania;
● Jennifferre Mancillas, BSN, RN, RNC-NIC, Chief Operating Officer, Johnson & Johnson Nurse Innovation Fellow and critical care registered nurse at Valley Children's Healthcare in Madera, California;
● Kathleen Dumas, BSN, RN, Chief Nursing Officer and registered nurse for Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and
● Lindsey Bloom, BSN, RN, CCRN, SCRN, Chief Research Officer and ICU Clinical Practice Specialist for Advenist Health Corporation in Roseville, California.
After taking first place the Nurse Hackathon, the team immediately began planning how they could turn their idea into a product and their team into a start-up. After analyzing products already on the market and narrowing down what they wanted their solution to include, the team manufactured a unique light that incorporates the best elements of existing lights to create an innovative way to improve patient care during the night shift.
Their current product, Lumi Light, is a device that can be hung from nurse lanyards or a clinician’s scrubs. The device provides a light that is intended to be bright enough for a nurse to see veins, bodily fluids or medication instructions, but dim enough to not disturb a patient’s sleep. The current product is designed to be easy to clean, lightweight, magnetic, battery powered and hands free, which can help with preventing infection.
“Our team has learned a lot from how the military leverages different types of light in the field, and we’re still discovering new benefits to using specific lights over a typical flashlight,” said Kathleen. “So far, nurses using our product have told us their patients seem to be sleeping better and less agitated at night when they used our light. These nurses have also praised how our light is less intrusive but still travels far and allows them to see what they need to view.”
Over the past few months, the Nightvision Care team has been testing their product with colleagues for feedback on how the team can further improve the design. “When we tell nurses and other clinicians about our product, you can see a light bulb going off in their heads,” said Anthony. “Nurses we talk to can’t wait for our product to launch, and we are just as excited.”
As a self-funded nurse-led start-up, the team has been working hard to navigate the finances of the business, existing time commitments and adding new skills sets to help the team grow. They meet consistently throughout the week, have brought on four fellows for additional support and are leaning on experts in nurse innovation to better understand intellectual property and how to obtain funding for their product.
“We’re so grateful for the support we’ve received from organizations like SONSIEL and the nursing community over the past few months,” said Lindsey. “Through any hardships or roadblocks, we’ve been inspired by others throughout the nurse innovation ecosystem, who remind us to stay passionate about the problem that we are trying to solve and have faith in our solution.”
Currently, Nightvision Care is piloting their lighting device in Massachusetts General Hospital and Penn Medicine, with the goal of creating a community among night shift nurses and gathering more feedback to further refine their solution. After working with great mentors on development and best practices for pricing, as well as creating their company pre-launch website, the team looks forward to launching Lumi Light for sales in the next few months.
But like other businesses, COVID-19 has significantly impacted their development and expansion efforts. In addition to navigating challenges presented by COVID-19 in their health systems, over the past few months the Nightvision Care team has also been trying to navigate increased shipping costs, delayed delivery times and getting their product into the hands of nurses on the frontlines. The team’s pilots at Massachusetts General Hospital and Penn Medicine haven’t been able to accommodate physical visits due to visitor restrictions, but both facilities have accommodated the team virtually.
“The slow-down due to COVID-19 has been a challenge, but we’re still on track and are excited to launch," said Jennifferre. “I think this pandemic has definitely shined a light on the importance of nurse and health worker safety and why they need to be equipped with the proper resources. With a solution like ours, we know we can better support nurses who have to work in dark conditions by providing a safer environment.”
Leading up to launch, the team is excited to be a part of a summer innovation acceleration program that will help them to better understand many of the complex aspects of healthcare innovation, such as intellectual property, financing and legalities. But focusing on the current status of their start-up hasn’t stopped them from dreaming of making a social impact, specifically how their product can leverage solar power to help improve health outcomes in countries that often lack power or electricity. The team has also been working on launching a “Sleep-Friendly Initiative” to complement their product which would include educational materials for healthcare providers and sleep kits for patients.
“As nurses, our superpower is that we can identify with the problems that both nurses and patients face in more ways than most,” said Jennifferre. “There are many different lights that you can shine on a problem in healthcare, but nursing is at the core of the solution. The nurse’s perspective is vital to healthcare innovation, and I’m thrilled our fearless team is taking action and going for our idea.”
To follow along with Nightvision Care’s development journey on social media, or to join their mailing list, visit their website here for more information!
To learn more about the SONSIEL Nurse Hackathon, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, and meet more of the event’s innovative nurse teams, visit here.
Want to read other interesting articles from the July issue of Notes on Nursing? Check them out here:
Nurse-led Virtual Series Helps Adolescents Stay Calm and Well Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
“The Road to a Vaccine”: A Live Series with Health Experts Navigating COVID-19
Pictured above in the team photo above are (from top row, in order from left to right): Gabrielle Weiss (Engineering & Design Fellow), Anthony Scarpone-Lambert (Co-Founder & CEO), Nickolas Nieves (Web Developer & Graphic Designer), Yujiao (Louisa) Qiu (Finance & Business Development Fellow), Jennifferre Mancillas (Co-Founder & COO), Kathleen Dumas (Co-Founder & CNO), Lindsey Bloom (Co-Founder & CRO), Joshua Baek (Marketing Fellow)
 Simmons University. (2015, March 4). How to Thrive While Working the Night Shift. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2VvUIA4