The Nurse’s Guide to Innovation: Accelerating the Journey

Bonnie Clipper, Mike Wang, Paul Coyne, Vince Baiera, Rebecca Love, Dawn Nix, Wayne Nix, and Brian Weirich, Superstar Press, 2019, ISBN: 978-1-60773-124-5, viii+ 108 pages, $19.95

I recently obtained a copy of this text: The Nurse’s Guide to Innovation from author Wayne Nix. Nix and I had interacted in the past as I, as a design instructor, introduced him to several folks that I had interacted with regarding nursing needs in a hospital environment. I read through the text in an afternoon.

Most of my design experiences with my students involved interaction with fellow engineering faculty and physicians. However, this text serves as a reminder that most often design needs are first observed by nursing personnel.

The text consists of nine chapters each written by a different author or authors, all of whom have had experience as nurses and as inventors/entrepreneurs. It is written expressly for an audience of potential nurse innovators, whom they deem “entreprenurses.”

Chapter 1 introduces the reader to the general idea that this text is aimed at nursing personnel who are considering the subject of innovation and therefore potentially the innovation process or device design and/or manufacture. This chapter is written by a husband-and-wife team that developed a tool currently marketed as the MultiNix utility tool (a “Swiss-army tool for nurses”). While their device is not mentioned per se, they give several useful examples of innovation in health care and how some of them have directly affected overall health care processes. These include simulations and simulator training and protocol modifications.

Chapter 2, “Developing an Innovator’s Mindset,” covers that topic and introduces the reader to the need for a long-term commitment involving personal time, personal values, healthy habits, self- awareness, etc., as a necessary foundation for the process of having a healthy mindset for the development of a new device or process in health care. This chapter is of interest, too, as it describes several related personal habits that may affect one’s ability to pursue the commitment involved in the design, development, and marketing of the innovation.

Chapter 3, “Entrepreneurship,” recounts one nurse’s experience in developing the website HireNurses.com that linked unemployed new nursing graduates with elderly patients needing assistance in activities of daily living. Chapter 4, “Building a Business Case,” nicely describes the development of a business model design and design thinking and justification for your invention. Chapter 5, “Intellectual Property, Patents, and Trademarks,” briefly covers the standard discussion of intellectual property patents and trademarks and when to use each. Chapter 6 covers “Funding and Commercializing” and includes company structures, company funding options, and assistance in development and commercializing your development.

Chapter 7, “Marketing and Promotion,” covers marketing and promotion with discussion of two devices: Step2Bed and Squatty Potty (see Amazon), both useful inventions. This chapter nicely describes the necessary structure of a professionally done video required to develop a good sales pitch.

Chapter 8, “Engaging Nurses in Innovation,” overviews health care innovation overall and how to engage nurses in the process. It also covers how to pitch a product and related topics such as hackathons, innovation labs, and maker spaces. Finally, Chapter 9, the conclusion, overviews the prior chapters and recommends action on the part of nurses to innovate and improve health care delivery.

If I were still teaching a design course, I would seriously consider making this text at least an optional reading exercise for the lecture portions of the course, in addition to my text. Overall, it provides a good insight into design and entrepreneurship for nursing staff and gives others a good insight into the possibilities of collaboration with nursing staff for improvements in patient care. I recommend it as a good, easily read, introductory text on innovation.