National Nurses Day Google Doodle Campaign: RN Innovator #1

National Nurses Day is 30 days away. Today, I started a campaign to let the Google Doodle team know that America’s nurses embody Google’s “love for innovation,” and deserve our own – and very first – doodle on May 6th.

I started a petition, and I promised to send an e-mail each day introducing the doodlers to living, American nurse innovators worthy of worldwide recognition on the portal to the universe.

Why do I think this is important for nursing? Not for praise or glory, but because I truly believe that the majority of this country doesn’t really understand what nurses do. Maybe a doodle will get us all talking.

Here is my first e-mail to the doodlers, where I introduced them to a nurse innovator from my hometown of Buffalo, NY. I’ve thought Cathy’s work in end of life care at Buffalo General Medical Center deserved attention when I first heard about it years ago; her White Wreath Protocol is creative, forward-thinking, practical and most definitely innovative. I have no doubt the doodlers will agree.

Amanda Anderson RN

6:35 AM (6 hours ago)

Good morning, Google Doodlers!

I’ll keep this brief:I love your doodles. They bring me happiness and knowledge whenever I see them. However, I’ve been a nurse for half the time that you’ve been doodling, and I’ve yet to see one commemorating my profession’s “love for innovation” that you call for. This is disappointing, and plain backwards. Nursing is, perhaps, one of the most innovative professions in the history of the world. I’ll give you a pass, though. You did offer up that frustratingly belittling doodle a few years back, of nursing’s first innovator, and nurses are notoriously bad at self-promotion or explanation of what we do. Perhaps you just don’t know?

Which is why I aim to convince you to post a Google Doodle this National Nurses Day, May 6, 2014

I’ve solicited some help from my friends – – and I’ll be e-mailing you each day to tell you about modern, American, living nurse innovators that deserve a collective shoutout. You’ll definitely get some tweets from me (@12hourRN), and I’ll be posting my daily e-mails to you on Facebook, and my blog,

I suggest you get to work! Just 30 days until National Nurses Day (Google it, maybe?). If you need some help, let me know – there’s 3.1 million of us, and I’m damn sure one or two can draw. 

Modern American Nurse Innovator #1

Today, day 1 of my innovative campaign, I want to talk about a nurse from my hometown, Buffalo, NY. Cathy Papia is an End of Life Liason nurse in the Medical ICU at Buffalo General Medical Center. A few years ago, Cathy got together with a group of critical care nurses who were concerned about the inhospitable environment in the ICU for patients at the end of life. Lacking a designated hospice unit in the hospital, sometimes patients lingered uncomfortably for days, missing out on the comfort and privacy hospice might provide. 

Cathy and her group wanted to do something for the patients and their families in order to promote their comfort at end of life in the absence of such a unit. They created a protocol called the White Wreath Protocol which took simple, low-cost items and turned chilly ICU rooms into secluded, peaceful, warm havens of comfort. A low-wattage lamp, a music player, a soft blanket and other items for the patient, were all packaged with instructions for nurses to use when patients became comfort care by their families and physicians. 

What I think is the most innovative part of Cathy’s protocol, is the way she tackled the issue of privacy. Cathy wanted to make sure that the patient’s end of life status was conveyed in a clear, but tactful way so that practitioners, staff, and visitors would respect the presence of a passing patient. That’s where the white wreath came in – it was placed on the door of the patient’s room, and a similar arrangement placed on the front desk of the unit. With this symbol, the presence of subtle beauty in a place full of chaos and sterility, all would know that a patient was spending his or her last moments comfortably, surrounded by loved ones. This protocol not only creatively bridged a gap and eliminated the need for a designated hospice unit, it brought a cost-effective solution to an entire population of people during a crucial time of life.

Despite Cathy’s ingenious execution, she has yet to publish her idea or run a study on the White Wreath Protocol. Last time I talked to her, she said the ICU was tripled in size and she didn’t feel confident enough to write, anyway. Too bad, because I’d like a protocol like this in my hospital. Maybe she needs some encouragement?

I hope this gives you a first glance into the amazing and creative work we do as nurses. Have no fear, I’ll be back tomorrow with plenty more.

Amanda Anderson, RN

Thanks for joining, and check out HealthCetera, where I’ll also be blogging about my quest for a nursing Google Doodle. Send ideas for living nurse innovators at:, and stay tuned here and via my Twitter feed, @12hourRN.

Share, tag, post, retweet: #RNgoogledoodle

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