Texas Children’s nurses win national innovation award for wearable simulation trainers

A team of Texas Children’s nurses has earned national recognition for innovating a medical device that is transforming how nurses across the country and around the world are learning essential skills for frontline care.

The Texas Children’s team received the 2022 American Nurses Association (ANA) Innovation Nurse-Led Team Award for designing, piloting and implementing RediStik Wearable Trainers. The trainers allow clinicians to practice inserting needles, positioning techniques, lab collection and giving medication from peripheral intravenous lines (PIVs), ports and central venous catheters (CVCs) much as they would with a real patient.

With life-like skin that lasts well over 1,000 punctures, the RediStik trainers are the only task trainers designed by frontline nurses that can be worn on a person or mannequin, or used as a tabletop trainer. Clinicians can use the devices to perform all procedural steps – including practicing sterile techniques by applying skin prepping agents and applying the dressings – and troubleshoot in a simulation environment.

“Not only has Nursing been involved in the RediStik Wearable Trainer project, but the idea was conceived based on feedback from bedside nurses,” said Michael Pickett, a pediatric nurse practitioner who led project design/innovation and built the multidisciplinary Texas Children’s team that won the award. He continues to lead the sustainability phase.

The other team members honored are Jamie Choate, Nursing Professional Development Specialist; Jeannie Eggers, Simulation Education Specialist; Marilyn Hockenberry, Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and Director of Global HOPE Nursing; and Tadala Mulemba, Assistant Director of Nursing for Global HOPE Nursing.

“Using newly available technology and incorporating our creative drive, we saw a need and developed a realistic, more engaging solution for educating frontline nurses on procedural skills,” Pickett said, noting the team also produced 12 accompanying skill videos filmed from a nurse’s point of view. “All of the identified education gaps were closed by developing RediStik Wearable PIV, Port, and CVC Task Trainers.”

The ANA Innovation Award comes with a $50,000 prize that the team will use to purchase more than 50 new trainers to be distributed between Texas Children’s Simulation Center, Nursing Professional Development and Global HOPE clinics and nursing schools in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Piloting the project

To win the ANA award, the team had to demonstrate that the RediStik trainers improved patient outcomes. That data came from a successful pilot program conducted in 2019, in which the trainers were used in collaboration with Texas Children’s Global HOPE clinics in Sub-Saharan Africa and more than 14 specialty care clinics throughout Houston.

In Africa, the pilot focused on quality improvement initiatives. The Global HOPE team measured competence before and after staff were trained with the devices, and found that 99 percent of PIV attempts at the clinic in Malawi were successfully inserted in less than three tries after practitioners used the RediStik trainer – compared with just 10 percent before the trainers were incorporated.

Choate, the Nursing Professional Development team member, spearheaded utilization of the RediStik PIV trainers to teach IV skills to nurse residents in Texas Children’s Nurse Residency Program. Prior to training with the RediStik PIV trainers, 15 percent of these new nurses said they felt confident in inserting a PIV. After completing training, 96 percent said they felt confident in inserting a PIV. The Nurse Residency Program has incorporated these trainers as an enduring tool for PIV skills training.

In addition, fully 100 percent of staff surveyed during the pilot program said they would recommend the trainers to their colleagues.

Bringing RediStik to market

For his leadership of the Redistik project, Pickett earned the International Society for Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) 2020 SimVentor Showcase Award. He has also broken new ground at Texas Children’s as the first nurse to trademark and commercialize a new design with the hospital.

Following the success of the pilot, Texas Children’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Nursing, Legal, and Marketing teams collaborated with manufacturer and distributor Sawbones® to make the commercial launch of the trainers successful. Since then, two surgical simulation trainers have been co-developed in partnership with Texas Children’s surgeons and added to the RediStik line of products: an ECMO Cannulation Trainer and a Microsurgery Trainer.

“The most rewarding element of my innovation experience has been the opportunity to learn new skills and develop amazing relationships by collaborating with hundreds of nurses and content experts to help bring an idea to life,” Pickett said. “Seeing these solutions being implemented and loved makes it all worth the effort.”

For more on the Redistik Wearable Trainers, click here.