Global Nursing Caucus Event: Innovation for Global Nurses: Exploring Technologies and Beyond

By Maggie Sullivan Moderator | 21 Oct, 2017

The Global Nursing Caucus is hosting a one-day event on Friday, October 27th. You are able to attend in-person (Boston, Massachusetts) or participate via live stream. This event is co-sponsored by Seed Global Health and will take place at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Please join and share your thoughts, ideas and experiences. Links attached below.

Event: Innovation for Global Nurses: Exploring Technologies and Beyond
Exposing nurses to innovative technologies to enhance their practice, research and education wherever they are in the global health care arena

Friday, October 27th, 2017
9:00AM - 4:00PM
University of Massachusetts Boston: Ryan Lounge

A live web-stream of this conference will be available via Zoom:
Additional dial-in options available on our website and Eventbrite page

Invited speakers include nurse innovators from...
 - Emerson Engagement Lab
 - MakerNurse
 - Northeastern University
...sharing their experiences with technology and beyond to improve health

For more information and to register, visit:

Attached resources:



Amanda Hart Replied at 11:34 AM, 27 Oct 2017

This morning, Rebecca Mickelson and Catherine D'Ignazio led a discussion on Hackathon innovation and design technology. Live attendees broke into discussion groups to generate problems and solutions as a small-scale example of how a Hackathon works.

Pitch topics included promoting leadership in nursing, stakeholder analysis of maternal mortality data to improve nursing care, global maternity ward communication, improving nurse/patient relationship to continued care between visits, and energizing the culture around nursing.

A hashtag has been created for the event: #innovationforglobalnurses

Jeanne Leffers Replied at 2:02 PM, 27 Oct 2017

Currently Anna Young the CEO of MakerHealth (and Maker Nurse) is speaking about how nurses and other health care workers have used their ingenuity to create devices to heal and advance health. Examples of nurse innovations across the US and world inspire us to "think outside the box" for creative designs to solve problems.

Monique Germain Moderator Replied at 2:22 PM, 27 Oct 2017

The speaker demonstrated a lot of ingenuity. Indeed, nurses need to think out of the box and make things happen.

Jeanne Leffers Replied at 12:01 PM, 4 Nov 2017

Summary Notes for the October 27, 2017 GNC Technology Innovation Event

On October 27, 2017 the Global Nursing Caucus hosted the Innovation got Global Health Nurses: Exploring Technologies and Beyond form at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Linda S. Thompson, MPH, DrPH, RN, FAAN, Dean of the College of Nursing at UMass Boston offered welcome remarks. She brought greetings while explaining the connections with GNC through the UMB programs in Population health across life cycle and their health policy focus.
Co-Directors of the GNC, Nancy Street, ScD, PNP, PB and
Monica Adhiambo Onyango, RNM, MPH, MS, PhD welcomed the attendees both live and online. Today’s forum was a chance for those attending and for the GNC leadership to learn more about the growing area of innovation and technology and how that applies to global health nursing.
Julie Anathan, MPH, RN who is Associate Chief Nursing Officer of SEED Global Health offered some words of welcome that can be viewed on the GNC website at

Attendees were asked to consider the following:
How do we use innovation to bridge gaps in nursing practice globally? This forum will look at innovators and what they can offer to nursing.

The first presentation was:

Design-Thinking Approaches to Healthcare Innovation—
Catherine D’Ignazio, MS, MFA
Rebecca Michelson, BA

Engagement Lab

Catherine and Rebeccas began by using the exemplar as case study: “Make the breast pump not suck” hackathon” was held in May, 2014 More information about the Hackathon can be found at this link

What is a hackathon? It is where engineers come to open technology to make it more accessible. At this hackathon, the leaders and MIT Lab launched a problem-solving group to address the concerns brought to the hackathon by the breastfeeding mothers in attendance. The key to the hackathon is to start with the user. They discussed how they set up the design project. At the Media Lab Hackathon there were 150 people; and it holds the record for the most babies present at a hackathon!

Key steps to the process were to:
1. Look at pump as an object—all pumps look and feel quite uncomfortable
2. Issues of social norms and lactation support
3. US “hot market” for breast pumps because US not user friendly for working nursing mothers
The key take-away points were that:
-putting the “users” as key participants along with the engineers was essential
-issues raised about the design of breast pumps led to concerns for policy as well
-the concerns led to ongoing meetings and the next hackathon looks at equity and policy around social policies to promote breastfeeding.

The participants then learned to think as a designer!

Design interactive workshops require a design mindset. Design thinking is a set of strategies and methods to generate and test solutions that arise from people’s needs. This kind of thinking encourages out of the box thinking and design, empathy and experimentation. It is not only for physical things like the redesign of a breast pump but also for service delivery, clinical care, programs and other experiences.
We learned to be awake and aware vs. being on autopilot whatever you encounter you become aware of it—think about it as something that can be changed, to be generative vs. critical and to take action.
We were invited to be 0ptimistic (how might we) vs. barriers-focused (We can’t because)

We were asked to consider:
• How can you center the boies of the people who face the most challenging in repoards to your problem space
• How do you negotiate your one power and privilege as a designer? Can you use your power and proivdience to listen better?
In small groups we met to address questions such as:
• How might we leverage emergencies technologies to improve nursing?
• How can we improve documentation?
• How can we design better service delivery?

The application of these to solutions in low resource settings was an opportunity to envision new options and opportunities.

The second presentation was:

Maker Nurse: Nursing Innovation at the Forefront of Care

Led by Anna Young AnnaYoujng @annakyoung

See the website for more information

Anna described the Maker movement and Maker Fairs—science fair meets county fair

Maker fairs cover range of areas—craft to food to 3 d printing 50-1000 exhibiters who what they created and are learning from each other.

“Making” in health occurs when the individuals form, assemble and transform objects with their own hands-on skills and nearby resources. It represents the integration of a skillset, a tool set, and a mindset. Its roots grounded in how devices made and designed around the world.

The goal is not to introduce technological devices from high resource settings but instead to remake the device to work better in setting rather than end up in a trash heap. Rather, devices are made around the world by those who work in local settings and do innovation to fix things.

Maker Nurse showcases the efforts of nurses globally to innovate, improvise and make devices that work in their own settings.

A great example was the nebulizer. These high tech electrified devises imported from high resource settings often end up in dumps in low resource settings. So nurses took it apart and ditched the compressor. What was really needed was the small inhaler and a way to press air through it to reach the back of the throat. Now for only $7 for tubing materials, health workers can get a local bicycle pump and use the other part—half a device in order to power the nebulizer.

The key is to adapt technology to fit the resources of the setting.

Nurses have made innovations that improve patient care, save thousands of dollars and provide sustainable solutions for low resource settings.
For example radiation oncology nurse Victor Ty created a Lego model of an accelerator to use to explain to patients (children) prevented 39 patients from sedation in his hospital. Other nurses designed different shapes of duoderm for NICU using vinyl cutting machine, created a telehealth system for patients to view the bottom of their feet and innovative wound care for omphalocele that reduced time for recovery from surgical procedures.

Key take away points:
-People closest to the challenges can best solve them.
-Celebrate the hacks and help them to evolve.
-Invest in the experiment.
-Doctors and nurses are faster than a medical device company and closer to the patient than an engineer.

Strategies to innovate—

Meet with nurses to see what they are doing to innovate—what are you already doing?

Many nurses have been part of Making to improve health.

The final presentation was:

Nurses as Disruptors in Healthcare Innovation: The History and Future of Nursing Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Rebecca Love, RN, MSN, ANP, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship


Rebecca spoke about the need for nurses to recognize their innovative and entrepreneurial skills. IN her role as Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Northeastern University she has been involved in working with hackathons, innovation conferences and projects to grow the connection between nursing and the innovation space.

She urges nurses to look past what is out there and only what exists because nurses are masters at identifying the problem but also need to be part of the solution. Nurses are great innovators as they improvise routinely and do many “work arounds” during the course of their day.

She gave many specific tips to help organizations such as the GNC to identify strategies to grow their impact.

Summary: The forum was a great stimulus for the GNC to consider innovative strategies for growing the organization, making connections with nurses worldwide and solving health care delivery problems globally to reduce costs and improve health.

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