Translating Critical Care Nursing into Innovative Business Processes
At the heart of entrepreneurship is innovation. It is the key that unlocks endless possibilities of products and services for any business venture. Speaking of business, if you are like most entrepreneurs, you are always looking for new and innovative ways to improve your business processes, but critical care nursing isn’t the first place you look.
You may not realize it, but critical care nurses have a knack for using their knowledge and experience to develop such innovations. The Covid 19 pandemic has just begun to highlight this.
We will explore some of the business innovations that healthcare professionals have pioneered and how you can learn from them.
Why Critical Care Nurses Spearhead in Innovation
Nurses are often the unsung heroes of the hospital. Critical care nurses, in particular, have some of the most challenging and crucial roles in the medical profession. Daily, they deal with life and death situations. For that reason, they must quickly assess patients’ conditions and administer life-saving treatments.
The pandemic made this creativity even more urgent not only for the survival of patients but also for theirs Reports show that 1,500 nurses, 7,000 healthcare workers died, and 3 million health workers were infected]. In addition to their clinical skills, critical care nurses also need to think innovatively and translate their knowledge into creative processes that improve patient care.
This level of creativity can especially be helpful for nursing professionals who want to create new businesses or improve existing ones.
Nurses in critical care units are constantly innovating to improve patient care
There is a common misconception that nurses are all cut from the same cloth. In reality, nurses come from all walks of life and have a variety of talents and strengths. Critical care nurses, in particular, are renowned for their creativity and innovation. In emergencies, they always find ways to make the patients comfortable-whether that’s developing new protocols or making existing treatments more effective.
Here are ways critical care nurses have used the pandemic to improve patient care outcomes. According to a report by neuroscience nursing, the motivation for these innovations falls into three categories:
- To reduce the use of unnecessary PPE
- To promote staff safety and support
- To improve the readiness of nursing professionals while reducing foot traffic
Now, let’s dive deeper.
Using the Pandemic to Innovate for Better Patient Care
With the Covid 19 causing restrictions in contact with ICU patients, many critical nurses found it difficult to manage care for their patients.
Preventing and Controlling the Spread of the Virus
Nadia Andrade, a critical care nurse at Brooklyn’s Maimonides Medical Center is one of the many who have implemented the use of extended infusion pumps allowing them to tend to patients without being inside the rooms. Moving infusion pumps to the hallway allowed nurses to replace the bags and tend to alarms without entering the ICU rooms.
In support of this, Jason Farley of Johns Hopkins developed a portable plexiglass testing booth for nurses that prevents the exhaled air by patients from reaching the care provider while in the room.
Although telemedicine had already been in existence before the pandemic, it has become one of the best opportunities for nursing professionals to innovate patient care.
Like many other nurses, Whitney Fear, an NP at a clinic for the homeless in North Dakota, transitioned to using technology to consult with patients after being quarantined.
Another innovation spurred by the pandemic is the Facebook group Social Distance Powwow creating experiences for ICU patients. Through its now 200,000 members, people can share stories of healing and survival.
Staff Safety and Support
One thing stands out as far as nursing professionals’ physical and emotional well-being is concerned- the role of social media in offering support, encouragement, and information. As nurses invented better ways to care for patients and protect themselves, social platforms were the place of ideas exchange.
Tonika Bruce, a former critical care nurse and business leader, has been at the forefront of innovating ways to support and connect nurses. One of her ventures, the Network Nurse, provides nurse empowerment through training and networking.
Starting as a place to connect healthcare professionals to business and healthcare training opportunities, The Network Nurse has become the hub of other healthcare inventions. It has given rise to Thrudemic; an anthology by healthcare professionals that captures the Covid experiences in the industry, and MBBCH; an online health encyclopedia simplifying nutrition and illness management for the public.
But like many great achievements and inventions, there is always an immense deal of support going on behind the scenes.
Bruce credits the fast tracking of these innovative projects to the dedication of a solid network and community of supporters. These partners include the YEC by Forbes platform providing entrepreneurial resources, the NBNA for awarding her the graduate studies scholarship, and Common Ground’s sponsorship and support to the Young Professionals Council membership.
Critical Care Nurses Innovations in Business
Critical care nursing innovations also translate to ventures that solve specific problems within the emergency care setting. Below are a few examples of businesses started by nurses:
- A company that makes and distributes specialized medical equipment for use in the ICU
- A home health care agency that provides skilled nursing visits to patients recovering from critical illness
- A web-based training program for critical care nurses
- A mobile app that helps clinicians track patients’ vital signs and provides clinical decision support tools
Often when we talk about innovation in healthcare, we think about the invention of a vaccine or an endoscopic robot, yet, the chief innovation during this pandemic period has been the ability of critical care nurses to innovate patient care on the go.
Critical care nurses can translate this knowledge and experience into innovative business processes.
Bode, Lisa De. “Innovating “In the Here and Now”.” Issues in Science and Technology 37, no. 2 (Winter 2021): 50–55.
Newby, Jamison C.; Mabry, Madison C.; Carlisle, Byron A.; Olson, DaiWai M.; Lane, Blair E. Reflections on Nursing Ingenuity During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: October 2020 – Volume 52 – Issue 5 – p E13-E16