Imagine you’ve been trying to get a child to sleep for the past 2 hours. You have tried many strategies, but there also were many things that prevented you from providing the optimal environment for your patient. The child was on non-invasive ventilation, no parent was at the bedside, and the music channel wasn’t working. The only thing you had was the child’s favorite blanket and your voice to sing her to sleep. Finally, the child dozed off.
Now you discover a new order for antibiotics for the child. You’re glad she already has a peripheral I.V. and get ready to administer the first dose. But when you take the protective cover off the I.V., the scratchy noise of the Velcro wakes up the child. To say the least, this not ideal situation. The child just went to sleep after endlessly trying to get him comfortable enough to fall asleep. You know the I.V. site needs to be protected, but you also need to be able to frequently assess and evaluate the site to prevent harm. The cover needs to come off since you can’t see through it to accurately perform a proper assessment. Unfortunately, the need will be ongoing for the next couple of hours and you doubt the child will get proper restful sleep through the administration of the antibiotics. You start the antibiotics and cover the I.V. with the protective cover knowing that and soon you will be back to face with the same situation.
This child was my patient, and as I taking these actions, I asked myself, how could I do better? How could I provide care that is safe, while still keeping the child comfortable? For anyone in pediatric nursing, this is an all too familiar question.
In this case, I decided I needed to find a better I.V. cover. I began my search online, looking for a product that I thought would be better for the patients. (As nurses at the bedside we are the ones using the I.V. cover and understand first-hand what works and what does not.) I put in every characteristic that I thought would be great to have in a product. I knew what I wanted—the dream I.V. cover, the Cadillac model; I wanted to have all of the characteristics because each one was part of my vision for the perfect cover.
I reached out to my supply chain colleagues to see if they could help. They joined me in the search, and to our dismay we couldn’t find a cover that met all the features that I had envisioned. I began to say to myself, “I have a problem: I searched for a solution, could not find the best fit to fixed the problem.” Then I realized, “Wait! I can build this!”
I have made things before. I have craft and art supplies at home and can often visualize what I want to make. So, I thought, why not try to create exactly what I was visualizing? This was my start to thinking as an innovator: exploring and visualizing, while looking at things differently and with a drive to make things better. I’m going write about my experience in developing the See IV in future blogs. I wish to share my lessons learned with the hope to encourage you to begin your journey as an innovator.
Michele Davey, RN, is nurse innovator at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.