'MacGyver' Nurses Build Their Own Solutions

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media , October 8, 2013

For instance, Gomez-Marquez says the term "workaround" can be problematic because it implies that there's no better solution. He also takes issue with the term "positive deviance."

"It's such a patronizing approach that says 'you broke the rules, but thank God it had a positive outcome… but we'll study you as an outlier,'" he says.

The point of all this haggling about semantics? It's about showing that these "inventive fabrications" are worthy and important in their own right, that they're more than just a last-ditch workaround, or the result of a nurse taking a chance and happening to get it right.

He also hopes that nurse leaders will be supportive and encouraging of inventive nurses, pointing to the paradox that, "The nurses who are making things like [my daughter's] donut are not the ones who are in charge." And a rush to crack down on the rules can sometimes stifle innovation.

Such nurse innovation was commonplace in the early part of the 20th century, Gomez-Marquez says, pointing to a write-in section of the American Journal of Nursing in which nurses would share ideas, tips, and tricks about things like making medical devices or modifying furniture.

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2 comments on "'MacGyver' Nurses Build Their Own Solutions"

Sarah Mott (10/27/2013 at 9:47 PM)
Who knows the needs for patient care better than a nurse? As a nurse, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most inventive, innovative people in healthcare -

Aquifer (10/9/2013 at 12:15 PM)
I love it! When i worked in a hospital, I came up with some ideas,one of which was how to retrofit hospital beds to lower them so patients could get in and out of them easier. But I was told "fuhgeddaboutit" because of potential liability issues. I have proposed partnerships between hospitals and universities such that all those wonderful inventors could be teamed with, say, engineering students "help a hospital for credit" so that these devices might be accepted and even fabricated locally. I got nowhere, but I think it is a great idea and perhaps you could think about this to take advantage of all the terrific ideas medical people come up with everyday ...




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