Nurses tap into wealth of experience for healthcare innovation, entrepreneurship

Nurses have a wealth of experience in medicine, and they're tapping into that knowledge to foster innovation across the industry with new products and approaches. 

The expanding influence of health IT has opened the doors for nurse leadership opportunities. Nurses are not only playing a larger role in health information and data analytics efforts, but also finding technology can make their jobs easier and their workflows more efficient. 

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Increasingly, hospitals and nursing schools are prepping nurses to embrace innovation, notes an article in The Boston Globe, which describes Northeastern University's Nurse Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program and a Massachusetts General Hospital program that awards grants to nurses and other staffers who want to improve operations.

The University of Minnesota also encourages nurses to take a bigger role in innovation. It recently created a yearly workshop designed to arm nurses with entrepreneurial skills, as FierceHealthcare reported. Thomas Clancy, a clinical professor at the university's School of Nursing, said the first workshop yielded a number of ideas, including a flashlight that could make it easier to find veins. 

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Experts in healthcare innovation view nurses an untapped source for healthcare innovation, according to the Globe. 

"Doctors aren't really trained to do the business of medicine. They're trained to be doctors, but they run practices and they start business," Paulina Hill, principle at venture firm Polaris Partners, told the publication. "It's the same with nurses. Nothing really limits them from innovating."