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From the Dean

An incubator for innovation
  nurse dean
   

Albert Einstein once said, "We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." Einstein, of course, is the legendary scientist whose theory of relativity became a pillar of modern physics. His words of wisdom easily apply to the multifaceted field of nursing.

Here at the School of Nursing, we constantly rethink old ideas and generate new ones to advance clinical care. And we don’t do it alone. Several of our faculty members partner with experts at the Georgia Institute of Technology to improve the hospital experience for patients and families. Research coled by Susan Shapiro focuses on patients’ ability to rest in the hospital. By working to improve hospital lighting and beds, Shapiro and her Georgia Tech colleagues are helping patients enjoy more restful, restorative sleep. This past fall, Ashley Darcy-Mahoney cotaught a course at Georgia Tech to help students devise new technologies and models for improving the care experience of families who visit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta clinics. This spring, Phyllis Wright advised Georgia Tech students who created an IV access device to help nurses locate the peripheral vein on morbidly obese patients. Through her longtime work with the Georgia Tech Research Institute, Martha Rogers developed a highly successful information system that health officials in Kenya and Zimbabwe now use to manage nursing workforce data.

Other nursing faculty members are harnessing the power and appeal of computers and smartphones to better serve our most vulnerable patients—children. Hope Bussenius invented a smartphone app that simplifies the process for diagnosing hypertension in youngsters, while Melissa Pinto created an avatar program to help teens manage their symptoms of depression.

A few years ago, an article in The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing (May 2009) noted, "Innovation can be viewed as a process for inventing something new or improving on that which already exists." The authors also stated, "Unlocking the power of innovation requires the engagement of clinicians at the bedside."

As this issue of Emory Nursing shows, the School of Nursing thrives as an incubator for innovation to advance patient care at and beyond the bedside.

Linda A. McCauley 79MN PhD RN FAAN FAAOHN
Dean and Professor

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