5 impactful ways Johnson & Johnson supports nurses and the incredible work they do
From mental health and resilience programs to Hackathons to essential podcasts, here are a few recent ways the company is championing frontline workers.
In the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses are some of the most integral players on the front lines. They are working around the clock, taking on significant personal risk as they fight the virus in hospitals, clinics and communities—doing crucial work that can save lives and demonstrates the essential role nurses play in our healthcare system.
Yet this ceaseless caregiving takes a toll and can also derail careers.
“To show up like this day in and day out is a huge commitment—and right now, nurses are exhausted,” says Oriana Beaudet, DNP, RN, PHN, Vice President of Nursing Innovation for the American Nurses Association. “We need to ensure we’re providing the support they need to navigate into the future in a way that helps them as individuals and as key players in healthcare and across the profession as a whole.”
The Johnson & Johnson family of companies and the Johnson & Johnson Foundation are committed to helping provide that support. In recognition of Giving Tuesday, we’re taking a look at some of the ways they are backing the front line and championing nurses.
Osmosis and #FirstRespondersFirst
The impact: Helping the 25% of nurses who are projected to leave their first job within a year mostly due to unexpected stressors
The health education platform Osmosis and the #FirstRespondersFirst initiative, which are supported by the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, have developed an interactive e-learning course on mental health and nursing resilience—an effort to give nurses a strong base of resilience-building skills so they can continue giving their best on the front lines. The free-for-nurses course includes videos, text resources and assessments, all of which take just three to four hours to complete. The goal? To help those on the front lines of the pandemic understand the physiology of stress, anxiety and burnout, and implement strategies that can help them self-identify and avoid toxic stress levels.
Erik Andersen, MS, BSN, RN, a critical care/ICU staff nurse who appears in the course, underscores the importance of helping healthcare workers—including him—get the psychological support they need, particularly during the grueling days of the pandemic.
“It would’ve been easy for me to get caught up in a downward spiral of negativity. When COVID-19 hit my ICU last year, my wife was about halfway through our first pregnancy and I was just about to start graduate school. In my department, we were treating the worst cases of the virus, and because there were so many unknowns as the pandemic played out, my wife moved out of our house and went to live with her parents for a few weeks. Those few weeks turned into a few months. Living with our own personal unknowns—would I be able to quarantine to be able to be there for my wife’s labor and our daughter’s birth?—while taking care of the sickest patients was challenging to say the least.
I started looking into the Family and Medical Leave Act and tried to figure out how to time a self-quarantine before my wife’s due date. As my stress heightened, the nurse on my unit who’s in charge of scheduling quietly took action. In one day, she found five nurses who agreed to take on all of my shifts for five weeks—enough time for me to self-isolate at home for two weeks so my wife could come back to the house in the weeks before our baby girl, Darcie, arrived.
When you’re a nurse, you see so much illness, injury and sadness. It can be easy to get to a place where it’s hard to remain positive. The job is challenging, and the negativity can build up. In that act of kindness, my colleagues helped me remember how important it is to be in community with each other. They showed me how important it is to reach out for support—and how if you don’t need the support, you can be the support.
My daughter is 10 months old now, and I’ll forever be grateful for those nurses who stepped up for us. I participated in this video because I love to share this story, as it was completely unexpected and so valuable for my family. I hope their acts of selfless care can be an inspiration for others, especially for those who see colleagues dealing with even more severe circumstances. It makes me want to be a hopeful, helpful healthcare professional even more. While it’s easy to get caught up in the stresses of the job and the negativity that is bound to happen, it’s also important to remember that there’s always an opportunity to make things better.”
The impact: 1,200+ attendees at three Hackathons working on groundbreaking ideas including a simple way to help nurses care for their patients at night
Johnson & Johnson co-sponsors NurseHack4Health Hackathons, working in collaboration with the Society of Nurse Scientists, Innovators, Entrepreneurs, & Leaders (SONSIEL), Microsoft and dev up. The free, weekend-long events give nurses and other healthcare professionals, technology developers, designers and IT experts a chance to collaborate in real time and develop potential tech-based solutions that aim to address the most pressing healthcare challenges.
Jennifferre Mancillas, BSN, RN, RNC-NIC, a neonatal intensive care unit nurse and Johnson & Johnson Nurse Innovation Fellow who’s been a member of several Hackathon teams, shares the impact the Hackathons have had on her.
“I’ve always been the kind of person who wants to fix problems and find solutions, so I was in my element at my first Hackathon back in the fall of 2019. One of the problems presented to us during that particular Hackathon served as inspiration for another participant, Anthony-Scarpone Lambert, and me to move forward and create solutions for the pain points nurses experience at patients’ bedsides.
When we surveyed over 250 nurses, we learned that a staggering 87% of nurses reported that they struggle to see while providing care when their patients are sleeping, leading them to turn on the overhead room lights, which disrupts patient sleep an average of nine times a night.
Nurses are also using pen lights, flashlights or their phone lights to care for patients in the dark. These DIY solutions are not ideal and pose infection concerns. We knew there had to be a better way. That’s how Lumify Care—a nurse-led startup improving patient experience by providing innovative tools and resources that help support the front line of healthcare—was born.
To begin, we created the uNight Light: a wearable LED light made for nurses, by nurses, specifically for the clinical setting. The light illuminates the workspace while decreasing patient sleep disturbances by 70% on average. It’s lightweight and easy to use and can be easily disinfected.
It’s so gratifying being able to create something so simple, yet so impactful. Sure, innovation can be high-tech with all the bells and whistles. But it can also be as simple as turning on a light in a novel way. Hackathons allow you to blue-sky think and bring your nuttiest and wildest ideas to the table. Nurses are often the bridge between medicine and humanity; it is important to remember our innovations can help to fill gaps in care.”
Johnson & Johnson Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge Series
The impact: 10 awardees selected from more than 1,000 Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge applicants since 2018 have received more than $500,000 in grant funding to help support ideas with the potential to transform human health, including a virtual mental health program launched at a homeless shelter
The Johnson & Johnson Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge series invites nurses worldwide to submit ideas for new devices, health technologies, protocols or treatment approaches. Applicants with the best ideas receive grant funding, access to programming and support from Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS and mentoring from experts across the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies. The most recent Challenge focused on mental health—a worldwide crisis that’s only been exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19.
One of the awardees, Bre Loughlin, MS, RN, co-founder and CEO of Nurse Disrupted, explains how the grant funding she received enabled her to pursue her passion to help the underserved full-time.
“‘Let’s pitch in,’ my 9-year-old daughter Clementine said to me when the pandemic hit the U.S. in March 2020. We’re both very involved volunteering with the homeless population near our home in Madison, Wisconsin. So on March 23, we visited the Porchlight male shelter and realized there was a major problem that needed to be solved.
Men were lining up to get into the shelter for the night starting at 4:30 p.m., but they had to be screened for COVID-19 first—and those screenings weren’t being done by trained healthcare professionals. I knew I needed to use my background in healthcare tech to make telehealth visits easier and more efficient for the homeless population.
The solution seemed straightforward: I suggested we put up telehealth stations in the shelter so the men could be screened virtually by trained healthcare professionals.
I designed the first iteration of the Care Station—a low-cost, telehealth-enabled tablet—that night, and installed it two days later. My main goal was that everyone would find it simple to use, from the volunteers who had to set it up to the homeless men who’d be using it. I didn’t want anyone to feel tech shamed.
The Care Station was an immediate success, and I knew I wanted to scale up and get telehealth devices into other homeless shelters, rural healthcare clinics and even understaffed schools. Just a few weeks later, I quit my job at a big healthcare tech company and cashed out all of my retirement savings to start Nurse Disrupted so I could focus on getting Care Station tablets to as many locations as possible.
Being one of the awardees of the Nurses Innovate Mental Health QuickFire Challenge was not only a great honor but also a financial help; we’re using the grant funding to evolve what we’re offering and ultimately reach more underserved populations.
That support has helped tremendously, and so has the support I’ve received at home. The day I put in my notice at my cushy job, Clementine looked at me and said, ‘Mom, I believe in you.’ And that helps me believe in me and this challenging, rewarding work I’m doing too.”
SEE YOU NOW Podcast
The impact: 520K+ estimated downloads and streams covering topics from vaccine hesitancy to access to healthcare
For the millions of nurses around the world, going to work means more than just taking care of patients: It also means performing critical procedures, using billions of dollars of equipment, problem-solving and devising more on-the-fly fixes for medical crises than people realize. The SEE YOU NOW podcast, created in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson and the American Nurses Association and hosted by nurse economist and health technology specialist Shawna Butler, utilizes an educational, inspirational storytelling format to spotlight the impact of nurses who are leading and innovating in healthcare.
The American Nurses Association’s Oriana Beaudet, DNP, RN, PHN, reveals the mission and thinking behind SEE YOU NOW.
“My first day of nursing school was on September 11, 2001. It was a scary and challenging time—and it changed how I saw the world and my place in it, teaching me that moments of change and hardship require adaptation and growth. If we want to light a path forward, we have to navigate the unknown with a sense of agency as events unfold around us.
Nurses have been doing this throughout history, creating workarounds, solutions and inventions in the face of big challenges. And one of the things we’re working hard to do is to make sure nurses today understand how they can use their skills and knowledge to change the current healthcare paradigm. The SEE YOU NOW podcast is one of the ways we’re working to do this. Telling stories that every nurse can see themselves or their work in poises them to make the kinds of changes that are necessary and feel supported when faced with the challenges that will inevitably show up along the way.
On the podcast, we hear the stories of nurses who are actively addressing some of the largest issues across the communities and organizations within which they’re working. It’s critical that other nurses see this work role-modeled—especially now, when the pandemic is demanding so much from the nursing workforce.
There is an aspect of this work of both nursing and innovation in which you must recognize your own agency in situations that are outside your control. You must ask, ‘What can I do? How can I lead and drive positive change in the midst of difficult moments?’ The SEE YOU NOW podcast helps nurses understand that being willing to step in and fail, and to embrace those things that are challenging, is the key.”
COVID Vaccine Facts for Nurses
The impact: 750,000 nurses reached across 22 participating organizations with science-based, timely and culturally relevant COVID-19 vaccine information
COVID Vaccine Facts for Nurses brings critical, current and culturally relevant COVID-19 vaccine information to U.S. nurses with the aim of empowering them to make informed decisions for themselves and to educate and support the communities they serve. The campaign is led by the American Nurses Association and 22 other leading nursing and healthcare organizations, and is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson.
That includes the Philippine Nurses Association of America, Inc., whose Executive Director, Carmina Bautista, MSN, NP, FNP-BC, BC-ADM, is adamant about the power of vaccines, as she relates here.
“When I was a child growing up in the Philippines, my aunt was a doctor at a community-based hospital. I’ll never forget the way she connected with her patients and how they respected her. It made such a lasting impression on me that I knew I wanted to work in healthcare.
I suppose it doesn’t really surprise me that after a 20-year nursing career, I’m still working in my retirement. When the pandemic hit, I’d just been named the Executive Director of the Philippine Nurses Association of America. It quickly became clear how much our members would be impacted by COVID-19 and the toll it would take specifically on nurses. While Filipino American nurses make up just 4% of the entire nurse workforce in this country, we represent 20% of mortality due to COVID-19. We lost a lot of members. I’ve lost friends and family. And while the impact has been devastating, the vaccine offers hope.
I feel so strongly about the importance of nurses promoting vaccination, because it is the tool that will help us get past this devastating time. But I also realize that with so much information out there—and with messaging and guidelines that keep changing—it can be incredibly difficult for nurses to talk to patients about COVID-19 vaccines. That’s where this initiative comes in: We want nurses to feel confident in getting vaccinated themselves, and to make sure they have all the information they need to communicate the efficacy, safety and importance of getting vaccinated to their patients.
Nurses are often the most influential members of the patient’s healthcare team, which is why it’s critical for us to be involved in the conversations about the vaccine with our patients. But first we need to educate ourselves. We can’t speak to others about the importance of vaccines when we ourselves don’t believe in it or still have questions.
As a nurse from a minority population, my role as a trusted messenger becomes more important as I try to reach communities of color, who have a lot of valid concerns about how the vaccines will work for them versus the white population. There is already so much mistrust due to historical abuses, and a natural suspicion of anything being pushed by authorities. Providing vaccine information in a culturally appropriate manner by trusted messengers will help facilitate vaccine acceptance. And because the COVID Vaccine Facts for Nurses campaign presents the facts and information rather than ‘pushing’ vaccines, we help patients feel empowered to make the right decision for them.
By involving nurses in this campaign, we’re helping them sing one song to reinforce the message about the power of these vaccines to help us out of this pandemic.”