AORN Blog - The Periop Life

3 Tips to Infuse Innovation into the OR

3 Tips to Infuse Innovation into the OR

February 24, 2021

Nurses have a unique power to innovate for better patient outcomes, according to Josh Linkner, a New York Times Bestselling author, jazz guitarist, and internationally recognized expert on innovation and applied creativity.

“We can’t let the fact that we are in a highly regulated environment absolve us of our ability to be creative,” he stresses to perioperative nurses.

So why is creativity and innovation so important in healthcare today?

Linkner thinks increasing pressure to drive better outcomes and satisfaction can create a struggle for a nurse to meet the needs of a healthcare institution and the needs of patients.

Where to Start

Here are three proven techniques he advocates to help nurses transform their most powerful ideas into innovative change.

1. Look for innovation in many shapes and sizes.

“There is a myth that for something to be innovative, it needs to be a major game changer, such as a new drug therapy. The truth is that simple, everyday innovations can be just as powerful, such as the way you triage patients or staff,” he says, noting that nurses cultivate high numbers of innovations in their day-to-day work.

2. Share ideas to spread and grow innovation.

Sharing your idea drives a collective, innovative outcome—if your idea only happens in the shadows, it won’t get implemented,” Linkner cautions. He likens a great idea to music. “When I play [jazz guitar] with my band, I might share an idea on guitar that the bass picks up, and then the drums jump on and one idea quickly leads to something much bigger.”

3. Question convention.

By looking at an accepted approach to nursing practice and asking, “what would this look like if I ‘Judo Flipped’ it,” a nurse can push creative output to brainstorm a new and potentially better approach, he suggests.

What to Leave Behind

Fear—something Linkner sees as the biggest blocker of human creativity. “The best thing nurses and nurse teams can do is remove fear to create an environment that is safe for innovation, because any nursing environment can become a greenhouse for creativity under the right conditions.”

Linkner will share more techniques to help nurses connect with their creative roots and take back tools that will help build a creative environment for innovation in their own practice settings at Global Surgical Conference & Expo in Orlando, FL, August 7-10, 2021.