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Building a sustainable nursing workforce of the future

Nurse smiling at a man in Microsoft Teams video call.Our Microsoft U.S. Health and Life Sciences organization has collaborated with frontline health organizations and professionals over the course of the pandemic to better support patient needs and address emerging issues and opportunities. That’s why we were once again proud to join Johnson & Johnson and SONSIEL (Society of Nurse Scientists, Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Leaders) in sponsoring the NurseHack4Health, which tackled a critical inflection point for the profession and a key healthcare challenge.

With nursing turnover reaching nearly 20 percent per year due to burnout rates as high as 70 percent, pandemic demands, and issues impeding job satisfaction, the Nov. 5-7 hackathon focused on building a sustainable nursing workforce of the future. As advocates for patients, nurses are natural innovators—and their spirit of empathy and ingenuity resulted in ideas that support the nursing community as well as the entire healthcare industry.

Novel solutions

We were pleased to join 470 nurses, software developers, and other healthcare and tech professionals from 38 states and 48 countries who gathered virtually to develop concepts aimed at reversing the shrinking nursing front line. To set the stage, Dr. Peter Buerhaus, Montana State University College of Nursing Professor, opened the NurseHack4Health with insights on the state of the U.S. nursing workforce.

Leading up to and over the course of this free event, 17 teams collaborated for a total of 931 working hours through Microsoft Teams to produce novel solutions, such as:

  • Mental health and burnout, which allows nurses to access mental health offerings as well as positive feedback from patients and colleagues.
  • The price is right, which enables retired nurses and those who’ve been away from bedside care to return to flexible and compensated work.
  • Bedside nurse assignment allocation, that captures comprehensive indicators of care complexity to help ensure resourcing reflects what’s required by patients and families.
  • Netaverse, which delivers virtual and extended reality for nursing education and skill development.

After healthcare subject matter experts coached hacker teams to bring their solutions to life with Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Power Apps and other trusted technologies, more than 20 industry thought leaders evaluated pitch presentations, leading to positive participant feedback, including:

  • “With the assistance of Microsoft experts, I was able to use Microsoft Power Apps to take my proof of concept that I had developed in Excel and turn it into an app that was ready to be deployed.”—Robert Wingo, RN, Houston, Texas.
  • “The NurseHack4Health creates a network of brilliant and innovative nurse leaders. I thought that bedside nursing was the only thing I could do. But nurses now wear so many hats—and a nurse entrepreneur is one of them!”—Jiwon Lee, MSN, RN, New York, New York.
  • “NurseHack4Health is different and special; the nurses have passion for helping people and [it] is contagious.”—Javier Alvarado, Puebla, Mexico.

Advancing healthcare transformation

Kelly Aldrich, DNP, RN, Associate Professor and Director of Innovation at Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing, summed up the impact and potential of the hackathon. “I support events like the NurseHack4Health that support nurses with vision and courage to advance transformation in healthcare,” she said.

We share that commitment to advancing industrywide transformation, as reflected by this sampling of recent success stories featuring empowered healthcare organizations achieving more for everyone:

In addition to gaining inspiration from these real-world examples of delivering better experiences, insights, and care, please download our e-book, Personalizing Healthcare: Engaging Patients in the Digital Age.