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The MakerNurse Project

by: Ahrin Mishan | Tue, Oct 15, 2013 |

Last year I came across an article, "Design For Hack" in Medicine, about how 'MacGyver' nurses and children's toys were inspiring designers at MIT to make medical-device construction kits that would encourage and facilitate invention in the field. I was immediately intrigued and have since become an ardent admirer of both the work being done at MIT and the ingenuity of the nurses they have championed.

Recently, the same team from the MIT Little Devices Lab (Juan Gomez-Marquez and Anna Young) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have announced a new initiative called MakerNurse which seeks to identify the myriad ways that nurses in US hospitals design, make, hack, and innovate in the name of better healthcare.

MakerNurse is one of the few programs I know of that explicitly recognizes nurse's gifts as designers. My hope is that, beyond celebrating their reputation as masters of the temporary fix, MakerNurse will help to promote nurses as much-needed leaders of long-term, systemic change.

For more information on on this exciting program, please read excerpts from the press release below:

MakerNurse is a new initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Little Devices Lab and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to find DIY (do-it-yourself) nurses across the country—nurses working at the bedside improvising workarounds and fixing problems by creating small everyday tools and devices that improve patient care.

Too often, nurses are overlooked as innovators in the clinic. Our aim is to change that.

By examining nurse innovation in U.S. hospitals, MakerNurse hopes to uncover the behaviors, circumstances and cultural drivers that enhance resourcefulness and innovation among hospital nurses, and identify tools and resources that could help more nurses bring their ideas to fruition and lead improvements in patient care.

A recent article in HealthLeaders Media offers a fantastic example of an elegant nurse solution for a pediatric patient recovering from back surgery. These are exactly the types of stories we are hoping to hear and the ones that inspire us to design tools to help nurses succeed.

If you would like to arrange a MakerNurse workshop for your hospital at a later date, please let us know. Each visit includes a 1-2 hour mini-MakerNurse workshop with a group of 15-20 nurses and hospital staff. Our team will present the MakerNurse initiative, talk with the group about their experiences and challenges with making, and include time for everyone to test out some of the tools, technologies and materials we have developed at MIT to make it easier to fabricate and prototype health care inventions—our MakerNurse Technology Crash Cart.

We hope to hear from you!
Anna Young and Jose Gomez-Marquez
The MakerNurse Project
Discovering Nurses who Make, Inventing the Tools to Support them
614-271-2090 (c)

Twitter: @Makernurse
Instagram: @MakerNurse


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