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Rethinking digital design tool education for the non-traditional Innovator: teaching CAD to nurses
Upper Lobby
Rethinking digital design tool education for the non-traditional Innovator: teaching CAD to nurses
Stanford University
For most of the last century, new product innovation has been limited to the realm of professional designers and engineers. With a more recent focus on end user experience and needs, clinician and patient... Read more

Description

For most of the last century, new product innovation has been limited to the realm of professional designers and engineers. With a more recent focus on end user experience and needs, clinician and patient voices have slowly been included in more of the early market research and late product testing that are critical to successful medical device development. However, the professional tools and skills used to design and fabricate the actual end product have remained firmly in the realm of technical experts. It is only in the last decade that technological advances have allowed professionals from other fields access to fabrication resources (including 3D printing) and design software for relatively low cost.

With access to these advances, it has been speculated that “anyone” has the ability to design and create their own personalized products. The overall quality, safety and ultimate impact of these theoretical devices (especially in the medical field) is a source of significant debate. However, while there has been significant debate, there has been little clear research on these “non-traditional innovators” to guide initiatives to educate and support them.

To clarify the challenges and opportunities of clinical professionals attempting to innovate in their field, a research project was initiated that studied nurses as they learned entry level Computer Aided Design (CAD) skills. The ability to capture a potential design idea in a three-dimensional computer model is an incredibly powerful skill, but the existing studies on how best to teach it are based entirely on populations of engineering college undergraduates. As part of the study, nurses were interviewed and surveyed as they participated in a digital design workshop at a professional nursing conference. Their expectations, motivations and learning outcomes were then compared to similar learning experiences completed with engineers. This work hopes to improve skill acquisition in aspiring innovators by highlighting biases in existing technical education and providing clear educational insights to support learning when crossing professional boundaries.

Between obtaining her MS in Biomechanical Engineering and returning to complete a Phd, Kate spent ten years in the medical device industry as a Senior Design Engineer and Project Manager. She has worked on over eighteen different devices, ranging from insulin pumps to annuloplasty rings. She recently completed a two year stay as the Resident Clinical Bioengineer at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital Gait and Motion Lab, where she advised on complex orthopedic surgery cases. Currently part of Stanford's Center for Design Research, her current research is focused on leveraging new fabrication technologies to advance the development of under served, niche market medical devices.

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