Innovation meets patient care


Nurses develop council to support novel solutions to optimize patient care

For Texas Children’s nurses Michael Pickett, Nicholas Keith and Anthony Bentley, a shared passion for patient-centered innovation brought them together and ultimately led them to create Texas Children’s Department of Nursing’s Innovative Solutions Council, the first group of its kind. Led entirely by staff nurses, the goal of the council is to bring clinical needs, ideas and solutions to frontline medical staff.

“While none of us had experience starting a group like this, we approached our nursing leaders, who supported our idea,” said Pickett, a nurse practitioner in the Anesthesia Department at Texas Children’s and chair of the Innovative Solutions Council. “We presented our strategic plan at several leadership meetings. Our leaders supported us, and a senior project manager was assigned to help us with the start-up process.”

After months of planning, the council held its first operational meeting in May 2016. By 2017, the team had organized a group of specialty advisors; created an infrastructure for idea processing and development; started several projects; and completed its first one, focusing on IV poles in the hospital’s cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU).

Developing solutions to support new ideas

The challenge with such poles was attaching medical equipment like oxygen tanks, monitors, chest tubes, trach ties and heart line transducers them in a way that was optimal for the staff and the patient.

Working with Pryor Products, a leading manufacturer of IV poles and accessories, members of the Innovations Solutions Council helped co-design a prototype oxygen canister/chest tube holder that attaches to the hospital’s IV poles. The ISC also worked with GCX, a worldwide leader in medical instrument mounting, to develop a more secure method for mounting a monitor to the IV pole. The prototype was piloted and revised four times to meet the needs in the CVICU.

“Our innovations provide a safe and secure holder for oxygen tanks and chest tubes,” Keith said. “We now have a mount on the IV pole that keeps our monitors visible and holds them securely in place and a pole extension for our transducers that will remain at the appropriate level of the patient.”


Collaboration leads to innovative solutions

The council has many more projects in the pipeline, including developing solutions to reduce neonatal vibration in isolettes and resolving skin care challenges in patient care units.

Once a month, for an hour and a half, the council and support staff meet to brainstorm new ideas, deliver strategic guidance and create and implement action plans for nurse-led projects that address particular needs or concerns. This unique style of collaboration sets the stage for significant results.

Since the council was formed, the team has reached innovative milestones that would not have been possible without support from collaborative partners and executive leaders including departmental colleagues, nursing leadership and the council leadership sponsors.

“Our council is a huge resource for Texas Children’s,” said Bentley, a nurse with Texas Children’s Kangaroo Crew, the team that brings critically ill babies and children to Texas Children's Hospital from all over the nation and Central America for expert care. “Employees and staff now have a place where their ideas can take root, be nurtured, and one day produce measurable outcomes for patients and their families. We are grateful to our leaders for their instrumental and continued support that led to the success of this project.”