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Nurse inventions that change lives

Author(s): Julie Cullen

By Julie Cullen, Managing Editor, American Nurse Today

The ingenuity of nurses should never be underestimated. While doing some research for our Nurses Week for a Month celebration, I came across an article about eight medical inventions by nurses. I have no doubt there are more…and many more to come…but I thought I’d share a few of them with you now. They might spark an idea. At the very least, they’ll make you proud to be a nurse.

  • In 1963, Anita Dorr created the crash cart. She developed the prototype in her basement, and now everyone uses them.
  • Teri Barton-Salinas and Gail Barton-Hay (they’re sisters) patented their color-coded I.V. lines in 2003. They help prevent medication errors.
  • In 1954, Elise Sorensen’s little sister, Thora, had surgery for colon cancer. She faced life with an ostomy appliance that often smelled bad and leaked. Elise created a solution: a plastic pouch that she could adhere to her body. The invention is still in use today.

You can read about all eight inventions here.

Julie Cullen, managing editor of American Nurse Today and a curator of online content for the American Nurse Today website, is most definitely not a nurse, but she admires what all of you do everyday. In her Off the Charts blog she shares some of her experiences as a patient and family member of patients, thoughts and ideas that occur to her during her work editing nursing content, and information she thinks you might find interesting. Julie welcomes your feedback. You can submit a comment on the website or email her at jcullen@healthcommedia.com.


  1. Good morning,
    My name is Julia Cox. I have been a PICC line nurse for approximately 14 years. I am accomplished in bedside PICC lines as well as PICC lines placed under fluoroscop.
    I have 2 patents for devices that will revolutionize PICC placement and securement of the PICC line.
    Who know better the issues that can arise during and after PICC insertion.than a nurse with a several years experience in he field.
    I am having difficulty finding a company that would take the opportunity to distribute these amazing, innovative ideas. Do you have anyone that can assist me with this?
    Thank you, Julia Cox


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