Sharks: Moving Health Care Forward

A recent study showed that more than 500,000 entrepreneurs launch a new business each month. With numbers like this, it’s no surprise that television shows like ABC’s Shark Tank® are a huge hit. However, wouldn’t it be nice for innovative nursing health care leaders to have the same opportunities?

In the television series Shark Tank®, budding entrepreneurs present their business ideas to five business titans who have made their entrepreneurial dreams come true and have turned their ideas into profitable empires. Entrepreneurs present ideas that range from health to home improvement and entertainment. If a titan is confident in the business idea, then they can choose to invest in the business. 

With the need to enhance the quality of life for patients, their families and the community, and the rise in health care innovation, Duke University School of Nursing faculty members Karin Reuter-Rice and Jennifer Dungan, with the support of Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) leadership and the Center for Nursing Research, wanted to create an avenue – The DUSON Shark Pool - for nursing researchers, educators and clinical practitioners to pitch their ideas for the chance to receive money to fund their work.

“Research isn’t done in isolation and can be quite intimidating," said Reuter-Rice, PhD, CPNP-AC, FCCM, FAAN. “However, this competition will allow educators and clinicians or researchers and community partners to work together on projects that focus on improving health care.”

Duke University students, faculty and staff were eligible to apply and will compete in the categories of research, education or quality improvement. A team of Duke experts reviewed all of the applications and selected the finalists who will appear at the live public event on April 12, 2016. Contestants will have up to 30 minutes to present their projects to a panel of shark investors representing Duke University Health System, Duke University and the School of Nursing. The investors will choose one or more of the best and most promising ideas, and the winners will receive seed money of up to $2,000 to invest in their projects.

“A scholarly event such as this is a great opportunity to bridge the gap between clinical practice and academia,” said Dungan, PhD, RN. “This event will showcase the innovative talent at the School of Nursing, Duke University Health System and with our community partners. It allows applicants the freedom to pitch novel ideas and approaches to address nursing and health care.”

While the seed money isn’t a huge amount, it is enough for the winning teams to receive initial funding to get new projects off the ground or to fund portions of a project that is already underway. After the first year, the winners will share their projects' progression in an annual Shark Pool update. This will be an opportunity to highlight the interdisciplinary work that’s being done across the campus while adding some fun and friendly competition to expand nursing scholarship through collaboration and innovation.

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