In Texas, we’re already seeing nurses apply their creativity toward better patient care. Jason Sheaffer, nurse manager in the burn unit, used PVC piping with 3D printed connectors to make a modular irrigation system to attach to the burn unit tub, creating a shower system that will help nurses more efficiently and effectively treat burn patients. Dolly McCarley, from the Medical Surgical unit, laser cut acrylic attachments for patient IV poles to keep supplies closer at hand. Debra Flynn, from the Labor and Delivery Unit, fabricated protective sleeves for patient IVs using an impulse sealer, vinyl and string. Dell Roach in Cardiothoracic Surgery designed a template for placing 12-lead EKGs on pediatric patients.
In its report, The Future of Nursing, the Institute of Medicine called on health care organizations to engage nurses and other front-line staff in the design and development of medical and health devices. Nurses must do more than just talk about new ideas for improving health and health care. They should be able to turn those ideas into something they can hold in their hands.
As we work with RWJF and others to build a Culture of Health in America, we must continue to expand the critical role we play in helping everyone in the nation live a healthier life. That includes tapping nurse creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness in more intentional ways. We are imagining what nurses could make if they had more than just the materials in the hospital supply closet.
Now, we’re working with hospitals across the country to build a network of MakerHealth spaces. Recognizing that nurses work as part of a team, we’re working to engage the whole health care community by inviting doctors, nurses, therapists, technologists, caregivers and patients to work together to devise solutions for making health care better. And we’re getting ready to launch a new website where medical makers can share “How-To’s” so others can recreate their health solutions and spread them throughout the health care system.
We can’t wait to see what nurses make next. If you’re a maker nurse, passionate about learning from other makers, join your colleagues online at the MakerNurse community.