Artifact: The artifact I chose for this class was our final pitch/presentation:

I am finally a senior, and to my dismay, I have just finished my last I&E course at Duke. This semester we split into teams based on interests, and we partnered with the Duke School of Nursing. Our assignment for the semester was to see if we could identify problems and areas in the nursing industry that needed fixing. We then spent the rest of the semester exploring these problems and seeing if we could come up with useful solutions to start tackling these enormous problems.

Our first assignments included interviewing as many faculty and nurse practitioners at the Duke School of Nursing. As a class, we grouped all of the information and answers that we wrote down during our interviews. Talking to people and interviewing them helped us identify four major problems that every nurse seemed to mention during our conversations. My team formed because we all had an interest in fixing diversity and stereotype issues.

As we began our research and conducted interviews to gain an understanding of the diversity and stereotype issues that exist in the nursing industry, we realized that diversity and stereotypes surrounding nurses were symptoms of a more central problem and that was lack of trust between patients and nurses. Thus, we shifted our focus from fixing diversity and stereotypes to figuring out how can we build confidence between patients and nurses. We continued to research and interview nurses, and we decided to send out a survey with questions relating to trust issues, stereotypes, and diversities to hundreds of nurses at different nursing schools around the countries. We got about 80 responses and what we found was that we were on the right track with centering our focus around fixing trust problems. We found that many patients lacked a full understanding of the skills and knowledge nurses possess, they did not fully believe in the credibility and nurses and compared them as lesser than doctors even though they go through much of the same training. Our thought was that if we can educate people about the role of nurses, what they are, who they are, what training they go through, and improve a sense of societal credibility we can change the stereotypes surrounding nurses and increase the diversity of nurses and interest in going into the nursing industry as a career.

We then began more in-depth research into how humans develop a sense of trust in people, ideas, concepts, and aspects of our lives. We found that when we are children, we are the most impressionable to new thoughts and ideas. The concepts and ideas that we are exposed to at a young age last with us and transform into our values and fundamental beliefs. Then, we started to formulate our focus for a proposed solution to changing the relationship between nurses and patients. After researching more about how children form their ideas and values from a young age, we came up with a plan to publish a children’s book. This book would cover the training nurses go through, all of the functions and roles they play in hospitals, give nurses the credibility they deserve and do so in an educational and informative way. By targeting children and getting our books and hands of thousands of children all over the country, we could significantly change the trust issues that currently prevail in the industry.

We ended up contacting a publisher who said that this idea was possible if we approached the right author who would be passionate about writing a story like this. The publisher said we could print about 2,000 copies and we could mail them out to hospitals to place in the waiting rooms of children’s hospitals and get as many as possible into the hands of young patients. What we realized is that if we connected to the right people, who were just as passionate about our mission, they could help us find grants that would fund this project, we could start to make an impact in the industry. The course was only 15 weeks, so hopefully, my team will continue to work on this project next semester because all of the proposed projects in our class have the potential to help people and create positive change.

My biggest takeaway from this class was that you might think you have found the problem to solve but you have to keep questioning and talking to people and looking to understand and disprove your hypothesis to see the real and most critical issue that should be solved. We initially thought we had one problem, but our problem shifted and changed until we discovered that the root of all of the symptoms was a lack of trust. This class was inspiring in the fact that just in 15 short weeks all four different groups spotted areas in an industry that no one had previous knowledge about and came up with four strong and viable solutions that can help and change the industry in the future.