Out of Chaos Comes Creativity and Innovation

What Nurses Know About Innovating “In the Here and Now”

COVID-19 caught the world flat-footed.  With no treatments at hand, hospitals became laboratories for figuring out how to respond to this new, incredibly dangerous disease.  In a quickly evolving mélange of medical, technological, and social complexity, learning and invention had to happen fast to protect the lives of patients and health workers alike. Lisa de Bode uncovers the role of nurses as crucial innovators in this ultra-high-stakes setting, showing how they bring practical and technical expertise together with their deep, human connection with patients to solve new problems in real time.

Our mythologies of science and innovation almost uniformly neglect to attend to the role of the skilled practitioner, whether it’s the machinist on the factory floor, or the seasoned nurse watching over the intensive care unit.  De Bode’s story showcases the internal dynamics of real-world innovation, and the central role played by nurses who are innovating “in the here and now.” Read the full piece in Issues!


Illustration by Shonagh Rae.