The True Face of Innovation: Nurses
Episode

Layne Price, Travel Nurse and DNP Student & Pak Chau, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Student

The True Face of Innovation: Nurses

When someone goes into nursing, the possibilities in the workspace are endless. 

 

In this episode of SONSIEL, we feature Layne Price and Pak Chau, two incredible nurses whose journeys inspire us. Both of them have attached another word to their role as nurses, providing them with tools and knowledge to keep delivering high-quality care. They both share their thoughts on innovation and the role of nurses in it. Also, Pak talks with first-hand experience about burnout and mental health and nurses’ essential part when conforming to a team. Nurses’ voices have always been valuable, but they are getting huge engagement right now, which is important for the success of care delivery. 

 

Check out this episode and get inspired by these two rock stars of the nursing profession! 

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The True Face of Innovation: Nurses

About Layne Price

Layne Price, BSN, RN, PCCN, is a Travel Nurse and DNP Student with 5 years of experience working in Intermediate Care and PACU settings. Layne currently serves as the President of the Doctoral Student Organization at the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

A strong believer in empowering nurses and patients through education, advocacy, and innovation, she created a YouTube Channel called “In My Layne” to share her nursing journey and help other nurses find their niche within the nursing profession. Layne is a huge “foodie” and enjoys exploring new restaurants but can also be found reading a bestseller in a local park.

 

About Pak Chau

Pal Chau is an experienced nurse with a demonstrated history of working in mental health, emergency services, community health, healthcare research, and health promotion. Skilled in innovative problem solving and leadership. Currently acquiring a master’s degree to become a psychiatric mental health nursing practitioner (PMHNP) at the University of Pennsylvania.

 

OR_SONSIEL_Layne Price and Pak Chau: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

OR_SONSIEL_Layne Price and Pak Chau: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

OR SONSIEL Intro:
Welcome to the SONSIEL podcast, where we host interviews with the most transformational nurse scientists, innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders. Through sharing their personal journeys, we create inspiration, provide guidance, and give you actionable ideas you can use to be a catalyst for change.

Nico Sciasci :
Greetings and welcome to the SONSIEL podcast. My name is Nico Sciasci, executive director of SONSIEL, and today I am joining as a guest host of this podcast episode with Layne Price and Pak Chau. Layne, Pak over to you.

Layne Price:
Thanks so much for having us, Nico, it’s great to be here.

Pak Chau:
Absolutely. Thank you so much for the invitation. I’m really excited to talk about some of our recent innovations with the hackathon as well.

Nico Sciasci :
Yes, we’re very much happy to have you and to learn more about your participation in the November 2021 NurseHack4Health with our partners Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft. Before we get started into your solution and your team, I’m curious to hear a little bit about both your backgrounds and really what inspired you to work in healthcare and specifically nursing.

Pak Chau:
Layne, do you want to go first?

Layne Price:
Sure. So my background in nursing, I am a travel nurse currently and I have about five years of experience as a nurse and I have experience in intermediate care, as well as the PACU setting. Currently, I am wrapping up my DNP degree at the University of Maryland School of Nursing. So what got me into healthcare was, I actually, it was kind of cliche, but I knew that I wanted to help people and I was really into the life sciences, and so I loved anatomy, and I was able to shadow one of my old teachers who became a nurse actually in labor and delivery. And I got to see a birth, and I just fell in love with nursing and being able to be there with the patient during these amazing moments. And so that was kind of the beginning of my journey.

Nico Sciasci :
Fascinating. And, Pak?

Pak Chau:
Yeah. So I guess mine was also kind of similar in a lot of ways. In high school, I did a lot of volunteer work with some volunteer organizations, and then I just kind of really naturally drifted towards nursing because I guess some people say that nursing is the gentle art of healing. And so I thought about things like medicine, but I couldn’t really decide what kind of specialty I wanted to do. And I talked to some nurses and they were like, oh, you know, you can put nurse, you can put any kind of word after that, and it’s probably a job, you know, nurse educator, nurse innovator, you got a nurse engineer, nurse scientist, there’s just so many options there. And that kind of really drew me towards the nursing field because I saw the possibilities of maybe becoming any of these things. And so I graduated from college, most of an undergraduate in 2018, and then from there I went to the emergency department, which was tons of fun, I saw all different kinds of things. And then I realized, like a lot of the cases that we were seeing, a lot of it had to do with psychiatric mental illness, specifically things like substance use, you know, violence and also like overdoses and things like that as well. And so that kind of drew me into wanting to pursue another career in nursing, in psychiatric mental health … industry. So right now, I’m currently at the University of Pennsylvania pursuing my master’s in psychiatric health nurse practitioner, and soon I will be practicing soon. And I got into, I guess, the innovation aspect of everything just because I’ve always loved finding new ways of delivering healthcare. I think we live in a really interesting time where technology and healthcare kind of collide, and we have all these possibilities that we can investigate into. But I’m a little dabbling into that as well.

Nico Sciasci :
Incredible background, and absolutely, you know, you mentioned something that really stuck out, when you spoke with nurses, they said nursing, you can attach a word after it, and it can be anything, right? Nurse educator, nurse innovator. So I’m curious, how do you define yourself as a nurse innovator?

Pak Chau:
Well, right now, I’m getting a degree and a master’s in nursing and it allows me to be a nurse practitioner, so there’s the practitioner part, I do identify as a nurse innovator. Ever since my undergraduate degree, I did a study with one of my professors in the Dominican Republic, where we basically studied an application that delivered therapy to low-income areas that were, I guess, impacted in a lot of ways, that I guess the area couldn’t really find proper mental health services to support their needs. And so there’s also this huge issue of like stigma in certain cultures, and it did affect the Dominican Republic. So we kind of use the app to bypass stigma, you know, increase access to a lot of people. And ever since then, I’ve kind of had this spark in me where I’m just like, you know, there’s so many things that can be invented to kind of combat some of the issues we have right now. So that’s where I kind of tagged on the nurse innovator part, I’m a nurse leader, I’ve always been … we’re advocates for our patients. And what better way to advocate for a patient than to kind of bring some of these larger issues to the bigger tables, because nurses, after all, are one of the biggest lobbying groups even within the United States. And it’s so important to kind of bring some of these issues. So, you know, I would think nurse leader, nurse practitioner soon and definitely nurse innovator, nurse, you know, advocate, activist, I’m all of that kind of clustered together.

Nico Sciasci :
That’s wonderful, Pak, really. And Layne, I’m curious to hear how do you define yourself as a nurse?

Layne Price:
Honestly, it’s pretty similar to what Pak said, where I honestly did not think of myself much of as a nurse innovator before the hackathon. But after I did that, I realized that we, honestly all nurses are innovators on some level, and I started to greatly identify more with that and starting to explore all the ways that I can really just think creatively about solutions and healthcare. So, I mean, nurse innovator, nurse educator, nurse advocate, nurse leader, it’s kind of all wrapped up into one for me as I identify as a nurse and kind of like what Pak was saying is, being trained to become a nurse practitioner, I feel like that all culminates into that role for me as well, and I’m excited to see what I’m able to do just as I get more education and I’m able to figure out how I can be there for my patients and also empower nurses as well along the way.

Nico Sciasci :
I’m curious to know, what is it that made you not think of yourself as a nurse innovator prior to the NurseHack4Health?

Layne Price:
To be honest, I thought that innovators, you had to have a background in tech or that had to be your full-time job is like an entrepreneur. But I realized, like through the hackathon, nurses are naturally innovators, we are at the front lines of seeing some of these problems, and we already naturally create our own workarounds and solutions when we’re at the bedside. And so that was just something I guess I was already doing naturally. But just in that setting of the hackathon, being able to collaborate with other nurses, I realized like, no, this is what we’re doing all the time and we should be doing this more so in a collaborative way.

Nico Sciasci :
Yes, yeah, definitely. I’ve seen many folks, nurses that I speak with, and we asked them the same question, that seems to be the response. And I’m curious, as, what you recognize that you are a nurse innovator, what are the biggest challenges tha,t that you sort of face? And what type of unique approaches have you taken as a result to continue to innovate, whether it’s at the bedside or away from the bedside?

Pak Chau:
I think that nurses are essential to any healthcare innovation team because when it comes down to it, the person who has the most contact with the patient and kind of get what the whole patient experience is like is the nurse. You know, we spend 12 hours for the bedside, you know, anywhere from 8 to 12 hours, but we kind of see everything that’s happening on the conversations that the patient’s having with all these different, you know, interdisciplinary providers, the social workers, the therapists, the doctors, the respiratory people. So we kind of see everything, all culminate into what the modern healthcare system is. And to kind of help offer all these perspectives that we see from our end into these innovation teams that also include things like engineers, you know, people like, that work with technology that have leadership in other instances as well. I think it’s really powerful that we’re able to kind of offer our knowledge from where we see it.

Nico Sciasci :
And how did that influence you in the NurseHack4Health and creating your team and becoming a track star?

Layne Price:
Honestly, Pak, I think you would be great for this one because you kind of kicked off our team.

Pak Chau:
Yeah, absolutely. So we actually saw how it worked with the hackathon was that there was kind of several different categories that we can kind of choose to work on. So specifically, our track was mental health and burnout, and it kind of just naturally drew a lot of nurses together that have either experienced or witnessed mental health and burnout. I was a big witness to it specifically because near the end of my time as an emergency department nurse, I was severely burnt out just from all the COVID. You know, we had basically doubled the amount of patients that we normally had, acuity was, you know, a lot more severe and nothing that we’ve ever witnessed before. And so, you know, that light bulb of inspiration you once had, like going into the nursing field, it kind of like in that once you get put against kind of these odds and, you know, a lot of people start losing their passion for nursing. And I think that’s what kind of led to this great exodus of many nurses. And so, you know, as much as the rest of the team really wanted to do something to kind of either prevent this mass exodus or trying to help nurses kind of be able to recover from all this burnout. So I think how we kind of came up with our solution, in general, was, we kind of just, kind of like a group discussion about like what it means to be burnt out. And since is that we were able to recover from kind of a really traumatic time or, you know, times of despair or hopelessness, you know, what were the key concepts that helped us get through as much as we did during those times? Because COVID has been now, going on roughly two years, which is quite alarming. But, you know, there are resilient nurses out there that have gone through so much and still continue to go through a lot, and to be able to kind of compile the general theme of what helped us go through that was important in the formulation of our project. Layne, do you want to talk a little bit more about our application?

Layne Price:
Yeah. So our app, we ended up calling it Nightingale, but the point of the app was a three-pronged approach where the nurse could kind of check-in with the app throughout the day, and I guess there’d be different settings to determine how frequently that would be. But just to ask some basic questions of like, did you, were you able to use the restroom today? How are you feeling today? Kind of some, some key questions that would give the nurse insight, but the information and the data collected from that would also be aggregated and be able to be sent to the hospital or system itself so that they could monitor burnout on different units and see what their staff needed. And additionally to that data collection aspect, the nurse would also have the opportunity for a moment of reflection, mindfulness, deep breathing, oh, and also some affirmation as well. So it would benefit the nurse and it would also benefit the hospital as well. And so that was our application idea, just to be able to address some of that burnout that nurses were feeling, but then also trying to address the root cause that some systems and some hospitals would need to put in actual changes as well.

Nico Sciasci :
Layne, that’s incredible. And, you know, has that solution move forward? Are you working with your team, your original team from the event or have you kind of branched out looking to work with other teams outside of the hackathon to move this forward, if you are?

Layne Price:
So initially we were, Pak and I were working towards continuing to develop the app and even really expand it and kind of playing with it. But I think we’ve kind of started to go with different teams and trying to see how we can help with this area in different ways. So we haven’t really followed up on this as much. But I know for me personally, I took this inspiration to kind of create my own motivation to help and empower nurses. And since then I’ve started my own YouTube channel to try to help other nursing students and nurses to help with mental health, I know Pak is also working on some things as well.

Nico Sciasci :
Wow, that’s incredible to hear such rock stars and I’m so humbled to be on this episode with the two of you and have the opportunity to interview about this. And, you know, just a couple more questions before the end here. I would love to know, what are you most excited about in innovation and nursing overall?

Pak Chau:
So what am I really most excited about innovation and nurses overall? I think nurses do hold a very, very special place right now in the healthcare field because of the huge impact that COVID had on the general society as a whole and how nurses kind of have been elevated to a place where voices matter because we’re so chronically understaffed right now. And a lot of the reasons is because nurses, the nurses didn’t have a voice early in the pandemic. And so I think there can be a lot of change going on over the next couple of years as influenced by nurses to make the healthcare system a lot more efficient in a lot of ways. And that’s kind of where I’m really, really excited for. And it’s some of it is just kind of looking back at the fundamentals of what is good care and bringing it towards the patients and the nurses and making it really patient-centered care, I think is what to look forward to over the next couple of years.

Layne Price:
Yeah, I agree. I also, in addition to that, I’m excited to see more nurses involved in advocacy. And I actually went to the National Nurses March a few weeks ago and just seeing everyone come out and really just talk about the pain points that they’re experiencing and even having some legislators there to support us, I love seeing that nurses voices are starting to become more amplified and that society at large is starting to understand that special role that Pak was talking about that nurses hold. And I will say that I think it seems like there’s the mass exodus, but at the same time, I also see a lot of nurses kind of expanding their mind and their thinking of what their nursing role can be. So I think that’s also really encouraging because I think that can also move our profession forward as well.

Nico Sciasci :
Absolutely, yes, that’s a critical point. You know, both of you are the future of nursing profession. And, you know, what can organizations such as SONSIEL and our partners through NurseHack4Health, but other types of support means, do to support you as the new generation of nursing moving forward.

Layne Price:
I think that mentorship is so important and I think that I don’t see that enough. And so I think any kind of mentorship opportunities would be so helpful, just like helping nurses to kind of get their foot in the door and like, like SONSIEL already does so amazingly, like opening nurses’ minds to know that we’re all innovators and how can we kind of get started on that path if that’s what we’re interested in?

Pak Chau:
I think one of the important things branching off of what Layne said, you know, mentors absolutely. But one of the jobs, I mean, not one of the jobs of the mentors, but one of the roles of mentors is kind of to inspire kind of curiosity within their mentees. And I think in a lot of ways, having this experience with the hackathon opened up a lot of our minds in terms of all the possibilities that could happen when you involve just more than yourself. You have all these different experts from all of these fields and even nurses within other fields, your fellow colleagues may be experiencing a lot of things a lot differently than you are. And so kind of sparking this curiosity with all of us to kind of go further with investigating things that we’re interested in, I think that’s a really, really key aspect that has driven me as well as many other nurses to kind of pursue the line of innovation going forward.

Nico Sciasci :
Wonderful. And with that said, Pak, what is one thing that you would like to leave the audience with today and then we’ll go to Layne.

Pak Chau:
I guess, one thing I would leave, I would want to leave to the audience is just like, you know, be curious about things like don’t really be too comfortable with the things that, the way things are running right now because there’s so much possibility for improvement as things change, things will have to change. And that’s the only way that we can kind of accommodate what modern society is right now.

Layne Price:
Yeah, and I will just add on to that because I think that’s really well said. I’ll just leave the audience with nurses’ voices matter and we have a special role and we need to leverage that to make change because change is possible.

Nico Sciasci :
And who better to lead that change than you nurses? Thank you so much, Layne, thank you so much Pak, for joining us on the SONSIEL podcast. We very much look forward to continuing to follow your innovation journeys.

Pak Chau:
All right. Thank you so much for having us, Nico.

Layne Price:
Thank you so much.

OR SONSIEL Intro:
Thanks for tuning in to the SONSIEL podcast. If today’s podcast inspired you, we invite you to join our tribe or support our mission by visiting us at SONSIEL.org. That’s S O N S I E L.org.

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Things You’ll Learn:

  • Usually, nurses tend to be inclined to sciences when they are in their high school years. 
  • Nurses get into innovation to find new ways of solver problems they are facing. 
  • Nurses are the healthcare workers who get as close to the patient journey as possible. 

 

Resources:

  • Connect and follow Layne Price on LinkedIn.
  • Connect and follow Pak Chau on LinkedIn