Rebecca Love, RN, MSN, mother, and entrepreneur, is the “first” of her kind for many things.
- The first nurse featured on TED.
- Part of the first inaugural nursing panel featured at SXSW in 2018.
- Director of the first Nurse Hackathon.
- The first Director of Nurse Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the United States at Northeastern University’s School of Nursing.
While simultaneously working as a nursing professor at Bunker Hill Community College and as a hospice nurse practitioner, Rebecca saw a clear disconnect between nurses and nursing jobs.
“My students were struggling. My hospice patients were going into long term care. There was a major disconnect in the marketplace. But the problem was, a lot of people never looked at the perspectives from the nursing perspective. They never saw the struggles that it was for new grads to get jobs… that there was a significant breaking point or bottleneck in the system.”
She woke up in the middle of the night with the idea to create a platform that connected nurses directly with the companies that needed them.
Although her husband and father were not immediately on board with investing in her idea, her mother, a former oncology nurse, believed in her. She gave Rebecca her entire retirement income to put toward the business, and Rebecca started building Hire Nurses. Her mother’s confidence and support kept her motivated and passionate during the long, late nights of building the business, working full time, and being a mother of three.
Rebecca points to constant discontentment as a defining trait that makes entrepreneurs successful. She cites Florence Nightingale’s famous line: “Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better.”
The First Nurse Hackathon
When a friend heard about Rebecca’s idea, they encouraged her to attend a healthcare hackathon and she found herself in a room full of healthcare administration leaders, doctors, and experts. She was the only nurse. During the event, these leaders and CEO’s soon started skipping their other engagements to stay in the room and pick her brain. This was a life-changing moment for her. For the first time, she felt valued and that her knowledge was important.
However, this also highlighted a larger problem in her industry. The nurses, the ones on the front lines of the hospitals, were not being included in decisions. This caused inefficiencies in hospital processes, often forcing nurses to improvise rather than follow protocol in order to get their work done.
“People never talked about it because they were scared of being reprimanded. But all we had to do was reframe the conversation and say ‘Hey, these are not workarounds, this is innovation. This is actually going to save hospitals lots of money if they allow their front line staff to start innovating and driving these resources and these processes forward’.”
Innovation Is Happening
This problem inspired her to launch her own Nurse Hackathon to solve problems that exist in the industry. She says that launching this event taught her a lot, including what a weekend dedicated to innovation needs.
- Space, speakers, sponsors, and mentors.
- A clear industry or topic where there are problems that need to be solved
- Lightning round pitches to help make pitches stronger
- Pitches that allow mentors and professionals to self-identify which problems they want to help solve
- An environment where thoughts, collaboration, research, and problem-solving can happen dynamically.
Rebecca is excited to finally see real change occurring within healthcare and nursing. Places like Mass General Hospital, Tufts Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic, and Newton Wellesley Hospital are creating positions like Directors of Nursing Innovation, a role that did not exist 3-5 years ago.
In 2018, Rebecca’s company Hire Nurses was acquired and she now manages the U.S. Markets for Ryalto, an app focused on helping healthcare professionals manage their schedules.
- Bet on yourself.
- Risk more.
- Don’t let fear or other people hold you back.
LinkedIn: Rebecca Love