Google Doodle Nurse Innovator #2

Whew! Busy shift! Managed to get Day 2’s RN Innovator e-mail out to the Google Doodlers on my lunch break.

Today I told them about Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN. She’s pretty high profile, or at least Obama thinks so. He put her in charge of a little organization known as HRSA back in 2009.

Sign, share, tweet, post! Every signature gets sent straight to the Doodlers!

Today’s e-mail, sent at 2:32PM:

Subject: Why Nurses Need A Google Doodle: RN Innovator #2

Hey Doodlers,

Sorry for my late message. I’m in the middle of a stretch of 12-hour shifts, and I’m scribbling on my lunch break. Today, I really will keep things brief.

I didn’t have to look far for RN Innovator #2. She’s an Obama-appointed nurse, and so far, the only one I’ve heard of. But this is just Day 2 of my quest.

Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN, runs the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Her position speaks for itself – she oversees a budget in the billions and runs programs like National Health Service Corps, all the while focusing on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and its effects on expanding access to health care for those on our society’s margins.

But! Before she was a Federal-level Administrator, Wakefield worked as a nurse in her rural hometown. Don’t get me wrong, her current work is brilliant, but what strikes me most about her innovative style, is how she got her start. When approached by a U.S. Senator to drop a tenured position at the University of North Dakota and work in DC, Wakefield was stumped. Instead of resting back on a secure future, she decided to take the jump into policy. What impressed me most was how she made the decision: She cold-called some nurses in Washington. After leaving three messages, she got a call back with an enthusiastic encouragement to take the plunge. This call, Wakefield says, was the first step towards running HRSA today.

This is common practice for nurses – to seek out the wisdom of fellow nurses. Whether it’s a double-check on a medication, a pitch of an idea, or a big decision like Wakefield’s, our innovation stems from our ability to ask each other’s opinions. Nursing is full of challenges, but as Wakefield so aptly says, “Rather than considering challenges a problem, I learned that they drive creativity.”

See you tomorrow!

Amanda Anderson, RN

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