Nursing & Healthcare News

Implementing Nursing Innovation

Design Thinking for Health is a free online curriculum

Are you looking to introduce more innovations to your clinical practice, or teach nursing students how they can do so? A new online curriculum can help.

Designing Innovations That Work

Change in healthcare can be a slow, conservative process, full of pitfalls. Just because an initiative is evidence-based doesn’t mean it fits the needs of clinicians or patients, leading to resistance and a tendency to fall back on the way things have always been done. Some researchers think the answer is a healthy dose of design thinking, a five-stage process based on common tech development concepts like user needs assessment and prototyping. When applied correctly, this process can result in initiatives that are better tailored to the needs of the people who’ll actual use them.

The Friday Newsletter

Lively career advice, nursing news and the latest RN job openings delivered to your inbox every week. Feel inspired by your work.

View Sample

Five-Module Curriculum

To familiarize nurses and nurse educators with this process, the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation have launched a new online curriculum, Design Thinking for Health, that explains how design thinking works and how to apply it in healthcare settings. The curriculum is available online for free, offering five modules that learners can complete at their own pace. There are also other resources such as case studies from clinicians who’ve applied these ideas in the real world.

Nursing Education

Free to Use and Adapt

Although UPenn and the Foundation jointly own the new curriculum, they’re encouraging nurse innovators and educators to use and adapt the program for their own classes and clinical workplaces.  “It is essential that we help all nurses become innovators, which is why this versatile and modular curriculum is designed to be taken up, adapted, used as a reference or infused into practice,” says Penn Nursing Associate Dean of Research and Innovation Therese Richmond, RN, Ph.D., FAAN.

You can learn more at designthinkingforhealth.org.


Aaron Severson is a freelance writer, editor, and writing consultant as well as the associate editor of Working Nurse.


In this Article:

Latest Articles