Greg Laukhuf

Nurses are some of the most creative people I know. Calm during a code with strong problem-solving skills in addition to being creative, every day nurses find ways to improve patient care, streamline a process, or invent a new product. During the time when my wife owned a small business, I interacted with more nurse at trade shows than I ever imagined who owned successful small side businesses. Many in the business world theorize the qualities listed previously are responsible for making them successful as entrepreneurs.

Nursing history is filled with extraordinary stories about nurses use of innovation and entrepreneurship. Florence Nightingale invented a system to track infection rates during the Crimean War. Using bells, she also invented the precursor to the modern call-light system. She pioneered physician-nurse rounding, modern sanitation practices and she was the first to insist on a food delivery system within the hospital. (Daren, 2013). Anita Door, an emergency department nurse frustrated with continual gathering of supplies during emergent situations, invented the crash cart (Daren, 2013). In Cincinnati during one of the last Fall ARIN conferences, a radiology nurse unveiled her product for the transport of narcotics safely to the procedure suite.

Patient care and outcomes are improved daily by nursing ideas. In many cases, these ideas do not make it out of the work shift, unit or hospital where they were conceived. This may be due to lack of information on how to take it to the next level, lack of mentorship or the training of nurses itself. Students in other science disciplines, for example engineering, are taught innovation and creativity early. They are given tools to explore and promote creativity. 

This was not the case early in nursing, but the times are changing. I was part of a meeting several years ago, in which nursing students from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and the Engineering Department from Case Western Reserve University were teamed up in a joint class. The idea was for both groups to share their expertise with each other to innovate new patient care ideas. Students from both disciplines responded favorably to the class.

What are the steps to becoming an entrepreneur/innovator? The company Growthink Plan to be Successful, lists 4 basic steps. (Growthink, 2018). They are:

  • Spotting Opportunities: Be open to possible opportunities by thinking outside the box and see unmet needs.
  • Assessing Opportunities: Be critical of the opportunity looking at advantages and disadvantages.
  • Selecting Opportunities: Once you have selected the opportunity put effort in bringing it to fruition.
  • Executing Upon Opportunities: Have a solid business plan to maximize your creativity, passion, persistence, focus, responsibility, intelligence, planning and energy to ensure success.

Finally, share your idea. Write an article, publish your results or present you success at a conference. It is vitally important that your innovation does not stay in the shift, unit or hospital where they were conceived. Your other radiology colleagues need to know of your success, so they can improve patient care as well.

I encourage all to let their creativity and innovation grow and be heard. It can be accomplished. Many of us have received emails in the past from Vickie Milazzo. She is a known authority in the field of legal nurse consulting and credited with creation of the field. In 1982, she founded her business, the Vickie Milazzo Institute. Her business assists nurses to enter the consulting field. Among her accomplishments, Vickie is a New York Times Bestselling author and was awarded a Top 10 Entrepreneur of the Year (Daren, 2013). Innovation and entrepreneurship in action. Nurses are some of the most creative people I know!

Daren, S. (June 25, 2013). Prosperous Entrepreneurs Who Began as Nurses. Retrieved
Grow think. (2018). Becoming an Entrepreneur: Four Steps to Entrepreneurship. Growthink Plan to be Successful. Retrieved

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