Johnson & Johnson’s healthcare incubator JLABS is offering up to $100,000 in development grants and mentoring to nurses who have an idea for an innovative new medical device or health technology. According to the company, there are over 3.2 million nurses in the US, and their “Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge” aims to empower these healthcare workers to solve major care challenges.
“Nurses have ideas that can profoundly change lives, and at Johnson & Johnson, we’ve consistently provided support by educating, inspiring, and empowering those in the field,” said Michael Sneed, Executive Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs & Chief Communication Officer at Johnson & Johnson. “The Johnson & Johnson Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge was created to bring these ideas to life by pairing them with our vast network of resources and expertise. In the end, our goal is to use Johnson & Johnson’s scale, resources and know-how to help incredible ideas move forward.”
As people on the front lines of healthcare, nurses have a long history of introducing innovating new approaches to treating patients and are still uniquely positioned to be precipitating these changes today. In highlighting the role nurses play, Johnson & Johnson singles out several well-known historical healthcare workers who were the instruments of change in their time, along with examples of modern nurse innovators.
Florence Nightingale introduced sanitary and hygiene practices in the 1800s which helped prevent the spread of disease and save countless lives. Over a century later, Sister Jean Ward would show that light therapy could treat newborn jaundice. Today’s innovators, like Rebecca Koszalinski, make use of digital technologies; she developed the Speak for Myself app which allows patients to communicate with their care providers despite the challenges and limitations imposed on them by their condition.
However, according to a survey conducted this year by Harris Interactive UK, 41 percent of respondents said they didn’t know that nurses can help in the development of new medical technologies. However, 66 percent of those surveyed felt that anyone involved in the healthcare field would have the ability to invent new devices and procedures, and 75 percent thought that nurses specifically should be given the opportunity to share their ideas.
As part of Johnson & Johnson’s campaign to promote the Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge, they’ve teamed up with journalist and author Maria Menounos, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor last year.
“I interacted with nurses every day and know that nurses do so much more than many people realize,” said Menounos. “They’re resourceful, creative problem-solvers. I truly believe we will all benefit from helping nurses develop their ideas for better patient care.”
The Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge officially started accepting submissions yesterday and will continue until February 1, 2019. A panel of judges will review the ideas and choose a winner based on uniqueness, feasibility and potential to impact human health, among other criteria.