Lee’s School Of Nursing Holds Research And Innovation Expo

  • Friday, February 23, 2024
  • Bethany Marsh, Lee University

Lee University’s School of Nursing held its Research and Innovation Expo as part of the Leadership and Professional Practice and Capstone courses for senior nursing students.

Prior to the event, 37 nursing students were divided into nine teams and asked to identify a problem they had noticed during their clinical rotations. They were then challenged to come up with a product, policy, process change, or research study to solve the problem.

“As the hub for interprofessional teams, nurses have a unique perspective on what works and doesn’t work in the healthcare system,” said Dr. Amy Jo Perry, interim dean for Lee’s School of Nursing. “It’s important for the next generation of nurses to feel empowered to voice their ideas and have the skills needed to implement those ideas to improve patient care.”

During the expo, an eight-hour Shark-Tank style competition, students presented their ideas to a panel of “Sharks” (guest judges) from Lee’s campus and the Cleveland community.

This year’s judges from Lee included Dr. Ben Christmann, associate professor of biology and health science, and Anthony Minutolo, coordinator and associate professor of engineering. Judges from the Cleveland healthcare community were Toni Karimian, Devin Mijal, Jarrett Millsaps, Tabitha Payne, Kim Reddish, Tami Seay, and Terri Woodruff.

“Every year, we are excited to share the innovative ideas that our students come up with, and our community partners are always inspired and encouraged by them as well,” said Dr. Perry.

The students’ ideas were scored based on the problem and necessity, innovation, details, feasibility, professionalism, and answers to the judges’ questions.

Students presented a variety of ideas, including “EZ Lift,” “See the Unseen,” “Punctual Pill Popper,” “SafeCall,” “Med Vox,” “Precision Flow,” “Mackle Box,” “Bubble Up Bed,” and “EZPZ.”

The winning team’s project, “SafeCall,” created a one-purpose call button that would magnetically clip onto patients’ gowns. It served a double purpose in helping both patients that needed to call for help but could not reach the call button and mentally confused patients that did not know what button to press for their need.

SafeCall team participants were Sarah Able, Abigail Bayles, Jade Benward, and Hope Clark, and their faculty coach was Shannon McBrayer, director of simulation and experiential learning.


“Throughout our leadership classes, we learned the different roles of a nurse, including nurse innovator,” said Ms. Able. “When working in the hospital setting, we saw a great opportunity to improve the overall patient experience by focusing on a new call light system to work alongside current technology. Our product, with its simplified cordless design, would help decrease patient falls and allow for greater accessibility to the nurse. The expo was an incredible experience, and it was amazing to see all the creative ideas that everyone came up with.”

The winners’ names and project were added to a plaque in the School of Nursing, and they were invited to lunch with Lee President Dr. Mark Walker and his wife Udella in the President’s Dining Room.

The day closed with a talk from guest speaker Terri Woodruff, executive director of the Anna Shaw Children’s Institute at Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton, Georgia. Woodruff spoke about the process of planning, designing, implementing, and staffing the Anna Shaw Children’s Institute, which gave the students a real-world example of nurse leadership that effectively addressed a problem by leading an interprofessional team to produce an innovative solution to meet a need.

For more information about the School of Nursing, visit https://www.leeuniversity.edu/academics/nursing/.

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