Read the original article in Portuguese here. The author, Bruna Nadaletti is a volunteer at Hacking Health Santa Catarina (Brazil) and a Nurse with a specialty in Adult Intensive Care. Bruna owns a Master in Education.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on the following situation:
Health service users are much more informed and demanding than ever before because of technological advances. They tend to act as consumers and require that health professionals develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes for needs that were not previously expressed. Have you ever thought about that?
How many hours of their workday do nurses spend with their patients? Nursing is one of the professions that spends most of its time close to the patient. Nurses face daily with increasingly difficult challenges, and to solve them, it needs to put in practice creativity and to innovation. In other words, nurses need to get an entrepreneurial spirit. But now, as a practitioner nurse, I ask:
Are we, nurses, prepared for innovation and entrepreneurship? Do we feel safe for this, considering the training we received?
Well, we need first to talk about a little more about the distance that still exists between innovation and entrepreneurship with nursing professionals. This situation results in professionals who are afraid of doing differently, who end up suffering from intense pressures of the labor market, which is getting increasingly competitive in all areas of knowledge.
Most programs in entrepreneurship differentiate two forms: business entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship. The first form focuses on business and measures its success through economic and financial evolution. With the second form, the social mission is at the heart of the business model, and success is associated with the achievement of a previously defined objective. However, when analyzing the ultimate goal of the two forms, we can understand that both target gain and profitability. Nurses can do both, but the context will define the type.
Entrepreneurship gives nurses a new professional avenue
Whether autonomous or attached to a healthcare institution, can entrepreneurship be understood as the ability to identify possibilities and innovate continuously? For this, it is necessary for the professional to develop an interest in market issues, which he/she is already aware of real needs and able to react in an innovative way, address emerging needs, and bring valuable solutions thanks to his/her professional experience.
A practical example of innovation
As a concrete example of innovation in the routine of nursing, aiming to add value to care, I name the shift. It can be seen as a process that allows for the continuity of care through the organization and transmission of patient’s information among nursing professionals.
Nursing staff number has an impact on patient safety. Thus, some hospital institutions wanted to innovate and redefined the moment of the shift. The nursing station is exposed to many factors that may negatively influence the quality of information: interaction with other professionals, telephone ringing, patient calling bell, among others. Now shift happens at the edge of the bed, where professionals are close to the context surrounding the patient in question, visualizing everything essential to be passed on. With the possibility of innovating even further, the patient participates in the passage of the shift and feels responsible for his/her treatment, evolution, and safety.
About nurses in Brazil
Probably when you think about being a nurse, the first environment you experience is the hospital. Do you know why? Because historically, the professional environment of nurses is associated with a health institution, either public or private. Until now, we have not yet been able to consolidate ourselves as autonomous professionals, even though this right was granted on September 3, 1946, by ministerial order, and entrepreneurship actions were initiated by Florence Nightingale. To see change, a cultural shift is necessary, from the training of professionals in HEI to the professional’s understanding of their perspectives, which go far beyond patient care.
Due to imposed routines, most nurses can not see entrepreneurship as something accessible, demonstrating a detachment to related concepts, often not knowing what it means. To bring nursing closer to innovation and entrepreneurship, it is vital that you, the nurse, visualize yourself in this scenario and show interest, putting into practice creative and innovative attitudes. Innovation doesn’t always mean creating something from scratch, preferably adapted to the reality that will be implemented to obtain positive results.
How many times have you been afraid to show your creativity and consequent innovation by fear of making mistakes? It is not only with you but with a large number of professionals. Rethinking and remaking are part of the innovation process, which must be continually re-evaluated. Challenges and changes should be seen as attractive to nurses who want to innovate. Comfort zone should be disturbing, instigating new avenues.
Be the change who want to see
Technological and scientific development, which facilitates and favors necessary conditions for nurses to modify their professional and entrepreneurial performance, should be a reason for constant search of professional updates. To be seen as indispensable in a multi-professional team, it is necessary to adopt and execute a professional posture that meets the current needs and, with innovative and entrepreneurial actions, modify the experience.
When I speak about a lived reality, I am not just talking about the physical structure, materials, and equipment or insertion of technology in the assistance; I am talking about patient experience, which is one of the most discussed subjects at the moment. How can I improve the patient experience with the assistance of my team? Is it possible? Yes, it is! Here is an example, where innovation was allied with humanization: a project called “Cinema in the Nursery” was developed in a hospital. Patients with immunological conditions are gathered every week in an improvised movie theater in the hospital and allowed to have popcorn and juice. This action is multi-professional, coordinated by nurses, intending to relieve stress due to the period of hospitalization and improve the patients’ quality of life.
Innovation and entrepreneurship are growing within the nurse profession, which increase needs to disseminate perspectives of actions and instill the interest of nursing professionals to develop their potential and explore new professional scenarios.
We count several nurses within the Hacking Health movement. Read the articles included in this article and watch the video to learn more about being a nurse-entrepreneur: