Using Creativity and Innovation in Nursing

By Stephanie Staples on Thu, Mar 22, 2012

creativity in healthcareIf we want more, different or better, we must do more, different or better.

When I first heard about him, I could tell he was very successful. But it was when I heard him speak that I knew I wanted to be a part of what he was doing.

Brian had come to speak to our association about his business of transforming healthcare institutions from the ground up and from the top down. When he was finished speaking, two hours later, I was hooked. His organization was changing the face of healthcare. I believed in and respected was he was doing, and, in my humble opinion, he needed me! I was confident that with my experience in nursing, speaking and coaching, I would be a perfect complement to his team. Now, how would I ever convince him of this?

How can I get this man to notice me? How can I get him to be aware of what I can do for his company? How can I stand out amongst the stack of resumes that are no doubt on his desk? Clearly, a standard resume was not going to cut it.

Now, I have never considered myself to be a “creative person.” I cannot even draw a straight line or a stick man, but this situation required creativity at its best. So, I asked myself, “What would a creative person do?” and amazingly enough, an answer came to me!

A quick trip to Wal-Mart provided the Children's Doctors Kit that I needed. Once home, I emptied out the toy instruments and put a toe tag on each one. On each toe tag I wrote a quality that I possessed. For example, on the otoscope I wrote that I had exceptional listening skills, and then I commented how each of these qualities would be helpful to his organization. I packed everything up in the kit, along with a letter of explanation of exactly why I was sending this and what I wanted. Everything went into a large packing box and I shipped it off to him (cost with shipping about $25). My goal was to get him to notice me, to know who I was, and to remember my name.  creativity in healthcare

Mission accomplished. He phoned me immediately upon receiving the package! He was surprised and impressed, and while they weren’t looking for anyone at that particular moment in time, he said I had just moved my name up to the front of the list. Yes!

True to his word, when they were ready for new blood, my name (which he remembered) was at the top of the list. Since that time, I have enjoyed working with and learning from Brian. 

If I had sent in a standard resume, what do you think would have happened?

It is not likely you want the same job that I did, but I bet there is something that you do want, something you want just as bad or even more, isn’t there? I bet there is a situation at work or at home that could benefit from a little creative problem solving. What is it?

How could you use creativity to help you get what you want?  How could you use creativity to help your patients get what they need?  How could you use your creativity to create a more fun, caring and positive work environment?

Think beyond “arts and crafts” type of creative. Are you creative with words, clothes, d├ęcor, flowers, fun, problem solving? Think about bringing an innovation from another area of life into healthcare, or taking a healthcare idea into your “real” world!

Use creativity and innovation to your favour!

With all the challenges in healthcare, we need your creativity to make easier, smoother, more successful transitions, to make our collegial relationships better, to make our patients more comfortable.

Strengthen your creativity muscle:

  • Think to yourself, “What would most people do in this situation?” and then do something else.
  • Ask yourself, “What would a creative, innovative person do in this situation?” and do that!
  • Get curious, uncover things, ask more questiocreativity in healthcarens, come up with uncommon reasons for why things happen - slow traffic, school being closed, why it’s raining, again!
  • Stop saying you are not creative!
  • Don’t be afraid to pop, to get noticed, to share your brilliance.
  • Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?”
  • Use colored papers, colored pens, colored binders and office supplies when possible - it’s good for your brain!

Engage your tactile senses; have unusual textures on as many things as possible.

Vow to do at least one little thing different per day.  Here’s a list to get you started: wash a different body part first, sit in a different chair at the table, eat with the other hand, sleep on the other side of the bed, drive an alternate route to work, try wearing your watch or ring on a different hand, park somewhere different, adjust the seat in your car, switch cars with your partner, take someone else’s dog for a walk, move your dishes into different cupboards, park on the opposite side of the garage, move some furniture around, dial the phone with your non-dominant hand, sit in a new place, read the paper in a different order.  These things will help you to increase your comfort with novelty and change, and help you get used to different things.

Visit www.creativitycentral.com where you can sign up for a daily “stretch-ercise!”

If you don’t feel you are naturally creative, then it should be a great relief to hear that it is a skill you can develop and is a skill worth honing.  



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