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A Nurse’s Experience Helps Streamline Nursing Processes

The Modern Nurse
February 26, 2018
A Nurse’s Experience Helps Streamline Nursing Processes

In today’s modern world, technology and innovation are essential to furthering the nursing profession. As the founder and CEO of NurseGrid, Joe Novello, BSN, RN, is using his nursing skills to help improve the nursing profession and advance outcomes for patients. NurseGrid was created by nurses, for nurses and nurse leaders, in order to streamline communication, staffing, and scheduling in nursing departments. The app, which was created in 2013 and is now used in hospitals across the country, serves as a calendar and communication tool for nurses to manage their schedules, and a platform for managers to oversee scheduling, ultimately increasing the productivity of both nurses and managers. We recently spoke to Joe about what led to the development of NurseGrid and the importance of nurse entrepreneurship. 

Nursing Notes (NN): Can you tell us about your nursing background and how it led to your current position?  

Joe Novello: I’ve been involved in nursing and healthcare for as long as I can remember. I started volunteering in hospitals when I was 13, was an employee in the Emergency Department (ED) by the time I was 16, and became an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) at 17. I never really imagined a life outside of healthcare; my grandma, mom, sister, and I are all nurses.

I went to nursing school at the University of Portland and graduated in 2004. I worked as a 911 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) provider and an ED ambulance tech during nursing school. I served as president of the local National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) chapter and president of the board of the Oregon Student Nurses’ Association, and had national involvement in NSNA. I also became heavily involved in the Oregon Center for Nursing Programming. After graduation, I worked as an agency registered nurse (RN), which allowed me to fill critical roles in hospitals when there was outstanding need, and during that time I began to realize how workforce and workflow problems were consistent across settings. 

NN: Can you tell us more about how your nursing experience inspired NurseGrid?   

Joe: I realized that oftentimes in hospital settings, workforce and workflow issues were a disaster. As a clinical leader, years later, I was able to get a clear sense of the negative downstream consequences of these pain points, including poor staffing, nurse burnout, and a decrease in patient outcomes. There was often a disconnect between staff RNs, managers, directors, and the C­suite executives.

I knew that solid technology could reverse these pain points and create a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce, while at the same time improving the bottom line for hospitals and creating better outcomes for patients.

NN: What are some of the positive impacts that NurseGrid has had on nursing?  

Joe: Dissatisfaction with their schedules is one of the top reasons nurses leave their jobs. It costs a hospital an average of $58,400 in turnover per nurse. In a recent survey, 85 percent of nurses surveyed said that if their department used NurseGrid, it would make it a more appealing place to work. NurseGrid also helps managers keep up with the constant flow of shift swap requests. Hospitals using our technology spent 73 percent less of their time on shift swaps. With the vast amount of swap requests that can come in, some managers have to set aside half of their day just to process them. With NurseGrid, it takes just a few clicks.

NN: Why is innovation like this so essential to the nursing industry?

Joe: Innovation is not only essential for the nursing industry, but also for hospitals, patients, and our healthcare ecosystems as a whole. Nurses come into the profession really passionate and then can get burnt out and leave out of frustration.

We have to find ways to innovate in order to make both the profession and the industry better for everyone. We can’t sit around and expect it to just get better.    

NN: How are nurses in the best position to develop and implement these improvements? 

Joe: Nurses are closest to the pain points. We need to be involved with the UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience) of new products, as well as help decide on important features and functionalities. Nurses have good perspective about what will be most helpful. Nurses are smart, educated professionals who are trained explicitly for critical thinking. We need to be tapping into the nursing profession as a resource more frequently.    

NN: What advice would you share with nursing students looking to make an impact through innovation?

Joe: Speak up! Find ways to present the problem, consequences of the problem, potential solutions, and the potential outcome of those solutions. Build strong relationships and look for leadership opportunities. Explore how others have solved similar problems and always try to use evidence-based practice.     

To learn more about NurseGrid and how the innovative technology is helping make the nursing profession more efficient, visit

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