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Latest News & EventsNurses Leading Innovation

Spotlighting Nurse-led Innovation with SEE YOU NOW Host Shawna Butler

As the host of the SEE YOU NOW podcast series, nurse economist and health tech specialist Shawna Butler is shining a light on impactful nurse-led solutions amid COVID-19, to support and empower today’s nurse innovators and leaders and create a broader community of collaboration.

To kick off the World Health Organization’s declaration of 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, Johnson & Johnson, together with the American Nurses Association, launched SEE YOU NOW, a new podcast highlighting the innovative solutions driven by nurses addressing today's most challenging healthcare problems. We found the ultimate host in Shawna Butler – a dedicated champion of nurses as leaders and vital players in healthcare innovation – to help us bring these inspiring stories to life. As the COVID-19 pandemic descended upon communities and health systems around the world, and in connection with our overall commitment to supporting frontline healthcare workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we developed a special SEE YOU NOW series, “COVID-19 The Nurse Response,” to better understand the extraordinary challenges nurses and other frontline health workers are facing and innovations they’re creating in real-time to take on the pandemic.

The Johnson & Johnson Notes on Nursing team recently spoke with Shawna to hear her biggest takeaways from Season 1 and the “COVID-19 The Nurse Response” series, her goals for future episodes and why she considers the Year of the Nurse and Midwife an important call to action.

J&J:
How has your experience been hosting SEE YOU NOW?
Shawna:
Humbling. On so many levels. The stories we’ve discovered and shared of how nurses are improving the human experience on an individual, family, community and global level have been eye-opening, heartwarming and incredibly fascinating. I’ve realized two important things from hosting SEE YOU NOW. First, there is an unbelievable number of complex problems in health. It’s miraculous that things go well as frequently as they do. And even when things don’t go well, I’m reminded just how creative nurses are in engineering solutions. Second, the nurses who have pioneered solutions to these problems have awe-inspiring conviction. Their ideas are clever and unexpected, and I marvel at their commitment to bringing their solutions to life despite obstacles they’ve faced.
J&J:
Why do you believe SEE YOU NOW is important?
Shawna:
SEE YOU NOW is spotlighting relevant and complex issues in healthcare and sharing the stories of how they’re being navigated and resolved by nurses. We’re learning from nurses who are innovating in everything from maternal and newborn care to health in schools, homelessness, intimate partner violence, mental health and technology. In the face of COVID-19, SEE YOU NOW has been a resource providing awareness and reassurance. SEE YOU NOW is also offering a new narrative for nurses and others around the world to leverage when they speak about the impact of the nursing profession. By providing this resource, we hope to inspire and catalyze innovation among a wide range of audiences to improve healthcare overall. In fact, a nurse recently reached out to me to share that our podcast is giving her the motivation to stay in the profession. It’s an honor and a privilege to have that impact.
J&J:
Who should listen to SEE YOU NOW?
Shawna:
Anyone who wants to learn more about the complexities of healthcare paired with thought-provoking solutions will love listening to SEE YOU NOW. We’ve produced something highly anticipated with a fresh angle on health that is often overlooked: nurse-led innovation. We’re eager to reach decision makers in health systems and policy who are often unaware of the many ways nurses are improving health. They understand nurses as hardworking, trusted, compassionate caregivers, but not always as the researchers, activists and innovators they are and always have been.
J&J:
What is the significance of the title of the podcast?
Shawna:
Each word is significant. The title speaks to vision, clarity and focus – the language of leadership and innovation. It also captures the personal nature of care, the urgency of our times and the idea of seeing and being seen. The Woodhull study on nurses in the media revealed that nurses are invisible partners in healthcare. Despite their incredible understanding of patient needs, condition management and the unmatched level of trust they’ve earned, nurses are often overlooked and underestimated as vital partners in innovation. We wanted nurses to know that we see them and their impressive work, insights and contributions. There are a lot of futurists in healthcare, but we also need to increase awareness of the “now-ists” – the leaders we have now.
J&J:
Can you tell us about some of the great stories featured in Season 1?
Shawna:
Season 1 featured the stories of incredibly smart nurses with an unwavering conviction and work ethic to bring their forward-thinking solutions to life – nurses like Ruth Lubic, who was years ahead of the health innovation curve and helped to seed the certified maternity care center movement in the U.S.; to Jonathan Bartels, who understood the impact of witnessing a patient’s death and the need for everyone touched by it to honor that profound and difficult moment; to Melody Butler, who explained how nurses can leverage trust to help open conversations on vaccine confidence; to Dian Baker, whose career and research has changed the way I think about nurses in communities, schools and governments – and the power of the toothbrushes! These are incredible people who research, create, ask for help, take risks, recover from setbacks and find ways to laugh – even in those dark, difficult moments nurses often face.
J&J:
In response to COVID-19, the podcast adjusted the format and went directly to the frontlines of COVID-19. What was it like speaking to the nurses in this special series?
Shawna:
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded and access to what was happening on the frontlines was restricted, we understood the importance of capturing and sharing valuable insights from the nurses responding to the rapidly changing environment in real-time. Frontline nurses have a unique lens on the disease, the evolving treatments, patient management and the severity of pandemic. It was a privilege to speak with nurses like Jennifer Gil, who shared what it was like to battle COVID-19 herself while isolated from friends and family; Microsoft’s Molly McCarthy, who explained why this pandemic is fast-forwarding the future of healthcare; and nurse leaders Liz Stokes, Judy Davidson, Barbara McLean and Pam Cipriano, who discussed the urgent need for mental health resources for those on the frontlines. I could hear and feel their emotional and physical exhaustion, their fears, their concern for their patients, families and communities and their pleas for the public to understand their roles in helping to reduce the spread. Each episode confirmed that healthcare has entered a new era and we must make sure that nurses are leaders in shaping these next chapters.
J&J:
What are you looking forward to in upcoming Seasons?
Shawna:
We have an incredible opportunity through SEE YOU NOW to grow a community eager to explore the health and human experience and how nurses are innovating to solve a variety of healthcare challenges and disparities. I look forward to revealing the genuine and messy process of innovation, sharing the mistakes made, lessons learned, barriers and resistance encountered, letting go of outdated ideas and replacing them with more inclusive ones and celebrating both the small and big wins in innovation. We want listeners to hear, to get comfortable with and to know failing is, as Billie Jean King says, “all just feedback.” By sharing our failures, we can achieve better outcomes faster. We’re excited to continue our hunt for these stories, build our audiences and further develop this series as a tool for system change and advocacy.
J&J:
What does the Year of the Nurse and Midwife mean to you?
Shawna:
When the Year of the Nurse and Midwife kicked off in January, I was excited about the global attention, celebration and elevation of the nursing profession, but more importantly I was focused on 2020 as a call to action. Nurses’ potential to improve healthcare has never been fully acknowledged or developed. There is a disappointing and dangerous lack of nurses in and leading conversations on health innovation, policy, technology, finance and management. While the Year of the Nurse and Midwife intended to spotlight the roles nurses play in our health systems, no one expected something like COVID-19 to reveal just how vital they are in every facet of our health systems. This pandemic has reinforced that we need to be making investments now to prepare for the health outcomes of tomorrow. The public is missing out when nursing expertise aren’t included in disaster preparation and management, public health practice and particularly now, writing the playbook for a safe return to school, work, worship, sports and more.

Nurses have a lot of work to do as innovators, but we can’t do it alone. Nurses need support from executive and senior levels of health leadership, industry, government and the media to create radical and bold changes in how nurses are perceived and what they are enabled to do as innovators. If we want innovations in healthcare to succeed, nurses are essential to the process.

Miss any of the inspiring episodes from SEE YOU NOW? Visit seeyounowpodcast.com to catch up on recent episodes and stay up-to-date on Season 2!

To learn more about how Johnson & Johnson is supporting frontline healthcare workers and communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic, visit our website.

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