Nurses are Innovators

11 Jan, 2024

Many nurses often disassociate themselves from being creative thinkers and very few would call themselves an innovator. On the contrary, we are all innovators. To be an innovator is to nurture and share your ideas. It is so important for nurses to hone into and embrace their inner innovator in order to improve healthcare. Healthcare is constantly changing, refining, and growing. We as nurses need to grow with it, by continually expanding our knowledge, sharing our innovative thoughts, collaborating with others, and challenging the status quo.

History has proven that innovation has been at the forefront of nursing. Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, transformed an untrained, un-respected vocation into a highly skilled and admirable profession. Jean Ward inspired the development of phototherapy in jaundiced newborns. Ward strongly believed that natural light provided healing to newborns with jaundice. Against the advice of physicians, she took her patients outside and was able to prove her theory to doctors. That theory then led to further research and the worldwide use of phototherapy.

The American Nurses Association is a great promoter of building a culture of innovation in healthcare and strives to impact the industry by nurturing innovation amongst nurses. The president of the ANA, Ernest Grant, recently reminded us in an article about innovation that Nursing is an Art and a Science. I had the honor and privilege to be a part of the ANA Quality and Innovation Conference last year. As a first-time attendee, my experience was inspirational! Before then, I didn’t think about the impact nurses have with innovation in healthcare.

While at the conference, I had the opportunity to tour the Florida Hospital Innovation Lab (FHIL) founded by Dr. Karen Tilstra, now known as the Advent Health Innovation Lab. The purpose of the lab is to have a creative space for any employee of the hospital to go with the intention of sparking and nurturing creativity amongst other employees with whom they might not have crossed paths otherwise. FHIL’s goal is to create relevant, sustainable solutions in healthcare, develop design thinkers, and foster a culture of innovation. The advice they provided while speaking to us that day was that an open mind rejects the voice of judgment so we can think; an open heart rejects the voice of cynicism so we can feel; an open will rejects the voice of fear so we can move.

I hope this post sheds light on a topic that is so important in our industry and that the concept of innovation continues to spread and inspire nurses and medical professionals. I encourage you to expand your knowledge and perception of innovation in healthcare and to share your ideas and wisdom with your team and managers. 


AdventHealth Innovation Lab. (2018). Goals. Retrieved from

Grant, Ernest. (2019). We Are Innovators. American Nurse Today, Vol. 14 (No.3). Retrieved from

Keller, Amy. (2017). Bedside Insight: Amazing Nurse Discoveries.  Daily Nurse, Blog, Clinical, Health & Wellness. Retrieved from

Guyton, Nat’e. (2018). 6 Healthcare Innovations You May Not Know Were Created by Nurses. Spok. Retrieved from

Photos from the ANA Conference 2018

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