Jennifer Taylor, BSN ’03, MSEd ’09, on Innovation in Healthcare
By Patricia Erikson
When asked for a quirky fact about herself, Jennifer Taylor, MSEd ’09, BSN ’03, RN-BC, CPN offers that her favorite innovation is the light bulb. What becomes clear after just a few minutes of speaking with Taylor, is that she is a brightly shining light herself in the field of healthcare, especially in digital health and innovation.
Taylor’s journey from Boston to Standish and back again has been almost as direct as I-95. With a clarity of purpose and a drive to make a difference, Taylor’s innovative work at Boston Children’s Hospital took her across the country as a Senior Clinical Analyst in Clinical Education and Informatics and now back again to the bedside as a Staff Nurse.
She has been working as a full-time pediatric nurse since she moved back to Massachusetts in 2005. She began working on an inpatient floor but then moved into the Medical and Surgical Intensive Care Unit. “I work in critical care medicine which is a very fast-paced environment. The ICU offers amazing care. My work is different every single day. You never know what the day is going to bring. Patients can change in a minute. We work with neonates to critically ill adults during one of their most vulnerable moments of their life. Every minute matters. We care for the sickest of the sick. It’s never the same. It’s a challenge, but it’s very meaningful.”
Taylor credits Saint Joseph’s College for shaping her approach as a healthcare practitioner, “I care for patients in the most holistic way I know how. I was taught that at Saint Joseph’s College. Holistic care means that small gestures matter. Touching the patient, listening to what the family says–you’re looking at the whole human and how everything is connected, not just one broken piece. Learning how to connect with the patients and their families is the part of nursing that’s the most genuine at Saint Joseph’s College–pointing out a patient’s link to the outside world, their network, their community. Students still hear, ‘I can tell you’re a Saint Joseph’s College nurse based on the kind of care that you’re giving.’ All nurses work really hard. But we are taught how to look at the whole person and provide that care in a special way.”
While Taylor is passionate about bedside care, her love for technology took her healthcare career in an interesting direction. “Nurses every single day are innovators, they just don’t recognize it in themselves. They take things apart to make it better and more useful for the patient. They use tape, scissors, whatever tool is handy to make care smoother and more efficient. Nurses are innovative by their trade. In 2009, Boston Children’s Hospital was transitioning to a new electronic health system.”
Taylor joined a team of Informatics Nurses to help analyze, create, train and establish current and new workflow of technology at the bedside. Being grounded in good relationships with bedside nurses, her job was to ask: how can we make things better? What do you need that we are not providing? Then she would go back to the technology team full of engineers, innovators, and other analysts to see if the team could create and build the changes to help the care given at the bedside. At the same time, she was still providing bedside care in the MSICU as a staff nurse.
What does innovation at the bedside mean? Taylor explained how all Pediatric and Neonatal medicine uses the weight of a child to calculate medication dosages. “All technology needs to have the ability to meet this need. Boston Children’s made the decision to transition to new smart infusion medication pumps. It took a team of multiple people–led by myself and a pharmacist –to change the entire BCH community over to these new infusion pumps. Education, listening skills, being aware of the patients and staff needs while being able to understand and translate to various departments and companies were key to success. We worked extremely hard, but the transition was smooth, fun and the infusion pumps have been up and running for a while now. It was a massive challenge, full of lessons learned, strong relationships and extraordinary work!”
Last year, Taylor shifted from working with innovative solutions in pediatric healthcare to working on some personal goals. “I miss working in technology full time and would go back to it in a heartbeat. Being a nurse is an honor and a privilege. I am so grateful to SJC for all the education, experiences and lessons it has provided me.” On a personal note, Jennifer will be getting married this fall to Billy Henderson. They look forward to beginning their new life together.