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Patented technologies of nurse-innovators

Russ Metler, JD, MSPH, RN, Technology Transfer Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Hwy (K79), Atlanta, GA 30341, 770 488-8600, Russ.Metler@cdc.hhs.gov

Objective: To describe the wide variety of inventions by nurses and their impact on healthcare.

Methods: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) does not collect occupational data on inventors, thus patents cannot be searched directly for nurse-inventors. Nurses were identified as potential patent-holders by a review of books, professional and business journals, obituaries, and news databases. Patents were confirmed by crosschecking names, subject matter, and other variables in the PTO database.

Results: Through January 2004, 94 patents from 42 nurses were identified. Drawings were obtained for most patents and color images for many commercialized inventions. Patent issue dates ranged from 1865 to 2003. A business or university was listed as the owner on 39% of the patents. Most (81%) inventions were healthcare related including devices to measure pain, count surgical sponges, crush pills, handle medical waste, illuminate IV solutions, and determine feeding tube placement. Other patents covered stethoscopes, surgical clamps, female urinals, pacifiers for low-birthweight babies, hot and cold packs, syringe labels, IV tubing connector locks, IV site protectors, a solitaire gameboard for patients, patient restraints, patient clothing, nurse uniforms, and a surgical bed. Non-healthcare related innovations included flavored carbonated milk, stereoscopic image projection systems, an eco-friendly house roof, suncare products, a cradle, and infant carriers.

Conclusions: These patents represent a wide range of technology innovations by nurses which have stimulated commerce, improved patient care, and promoted public health. All nurses should be encouraged to pursue inventive ideas.

Learning Objectives:

  • At the conclusion of the session, the participant will be able to

    Keywords: Nurses, Technology

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:
    I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

    Abstracts Abundance

    The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA