Written by Jacqueline Per, Executive Director, Patient Experience and Chief Nursing and Allied Health Officer, and Tracy Irwin, Executive Director, Innovation, Planning and Transformation

Read how Fraser Health’s latest Nursing Innovation Grant winners are pursuing fresh ideas for patient-centered innovations across our health region, starting with a unique idea for an enhanced walker to improve patient mobility and free up time for nurses to devote to patient care.

Royal Columbian Hospital Clinical Resource Nurse Louise Schricker knew how important it was for High Acuity Unit patients recovering from serious illnesses and procedures to remain mobile during their recovery. It is essential to speed their healing and preserve their strength, not to mention boost their morale. 

Yet every time a patient wanted to walk, she saw up to seven nursing staff having to converge on them in order to help them become mobile. A team was required to help them up, to arrange and carry equipment such as cardiac leads, catheters, IVs and poles, feeding tubes, and then another nurse had to follow them down the hall with a chair if needed. 

The critical care nurse knew there had to be a better way. So did Royal Columbian Hospital physiotherapist, Jennifer Orr, who had started dreaming of a new kind of walker to make the process smoother, which she dubbed the J-Walker. The device would be outfitted with a pull down seat and hooks and poles and attachments that would efficiently transport the patients’ equipment for more frequent walks without the need for an entire team of staff, who would now be freed up for clinical patient care. 

“We try to get patients up so they don’t get blood clots, pneumonia, [and other] things associated with lying in bed. We want to help patients become stronger because when they come out of ICU they are usually very weak,” Schricker explained.

“It’s exciting because if this piece of equipment comes together, it can be used in most of our critical care units, so it will reach a lot of patients and nurses,” she said.

Their innovative project proposal was one of four selected as winners of the first Nursing Innovation Grants. The Nursing Innovation Grant was designed to spark innovation in how nurses deliver care. Forty submissions were received from nurses across Fraser Health from all sectors of practice. Four nurses were selected as grant winners and 15 additional nurses received an honourable mention. 

“We were completely shocked and surprised to find we had won,” Schricker admitted. “Everyone can think of a better way to do things, but then it’s about how do you get your ideas going? This helps with that.”

The winners are:

  • Dallyce Varty, Royal Columbia Hospital, for Jet Ventilator Shelf and Skin to Skin Contact Wraps
  • Luauna McCartney, Abbotsford Regional Hospital, for Cardiac Rehab Class via Video Conference
  • Margaret Ducharme, Ridge Meadows Hospital, for her “Because We Always Did it this Way” Campaign

“I’ve been truly inspired by our nurses’ passion for quality care which was so evident in their submissions,” said Jacqueline Per, Executive Director, Patient Experience and Chief Nursing and Allied Health Officer. 

“These grant awardees inspired us with both the creativity of their submissions and the depth of inter-professional collaboration that is involved with realizing their projects,” Per said. 

The winners were selected by a multi-stakeholder panel which included nurses, allied health professionals, leaders, Fraser Health support teams and a patient representative. The selections were based on creativity and challenging the status quo, ability to incorporate the proposal into practice within the next six months, and manager support. 

Now, in addition to their grant funding, these nurses and their teams are being linked to key support teams and resources to launch their innovation idea within the next six months. They will also meet with Fraser Health’s Innovation lead for a kick-off, mid-way and wrap-up meeting.

A Showcase & Spread event for winners, executives and clinical leaders is being planned for January 2019. This event aims to help leaders across Fraser Health learn how to champion the implementation of grant projects and find ways to sustain them within their area of practice. 

Get updates on Nursing Innovation Grant winners.

For updates on other Innovation Grant winners and their projects, visit Fraser Health’s Sparking Innovation Hub.

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