AORN Blog - The Periop Life

Have an OR Innovation to Share?

A Conversation with Abby Hess, APRN, DNP

Have an OR Innovation to Share?

July 7, 2019   

Nurses tend to be MacGyvers. Working at the bedside, we find workarounds and innovate new solutions to old problems to help achieve better outcomes for every patient.

If you have an idea to improve care, you may be surprised to find what a far-reaching impact the idea can have. AORN has partnered with Johnson & Johnson on the second Nurses Innovate Quickfire Challenge to recognize–and help develop–innovations in perioperative care. Abby Hess, one of the 2018 awardees of the first QuickFire Challenge, shares how her pediatric idea came to life.

Creating a New Way to Reduce Induction Anxiety for Pediatric Patients

“As a nurse practitioner, I saw how children often struggled with anxiety preoperatively and during anesthesia induction,” she says.

While hospitals have interventions that help kids, some can be more difficult to calm such as children who are young, highly anxious, had prior negative healthcare experiences, or have developmental challenges.

Because kids are very engaged with technology, Hess says, “I wondered if we could find a way to make the anesthesia mask less scary by adding some element of fun to the process. So, I developed a simple prototype and found that connecting the anesthesia mask to a breathing-controlled video game quickly transformed a scary anesthesia mask into a fun game controller.”

Her hospital provided initial funding for creating a functional prototype, and they’ve tested the device prototype with more than 50 patients. “The greatest reward is seeing kids who were initially anxious about wearing the anesthesia mask become comfortable enough that they are willing to hold the mask themselves while falling asleep.”

She added that being awarded the Johnson & Johnson QuickFire Challenge gave her the essential funding and, as important, access to experts she believes will help transform the prototype into a commercial product to achieve her ultimate goal: “This will enable us to make the device available to other hospitals.”

Innovating Perioperative Care

Hess encourages nurses to be bold and draw on their expert knowledge of the patient experience and the perioperative process, which she believes gives them unique insights to develop transformative ideas.

“Innovation requires persistence, creativity, and constant motivation to go above and beyond for patients. I think these are key characteristics that nurses already have,” Hess says. “Bringing your ideas forward will make an incredible impact on healthcare.”

So, what are you waiting for? Share your ideas and innovations that aim to transform care, not only for your patients, but for many other patients across the country and even the world.

How to Apply

Submit your idea by July 26 to the Johnson & Johnson Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge in Perioperative Care at

Ideas can cover pre-, intra-, and post-operative care.

When submitting your idea be sure to explain why you feel it is unique, how it could impact your patients, and share the key resources you need to further your idea. Here are a few areas of interest J&J is looking for:

  • New treatment protocols
  • New health technologies
  • New medical devices
  • New preventive approaches
  • New consumer products
  • New community health approaches
  • New screening tools

The best ideas can receive up to $100,000 in total grant funding, access to mentoring, and coaching via Johnson & Johnson Innovation.

The best part? The idea still belongs to you. Go for it!

Abby Hess, APRN, DNP, works in the Anesthesia Consult Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.