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Profiles & Personalities

Dr. Dan Weberg: Disrupting the Nursing Industry

Sep 16, 2019
Dr. Dan Weberg, PhD, Rn

After nearly seven years as Kaiser Permanente’s National Senior Director for Nursing Innovation and Leadership, I’m joining Trusted Health as the Head of Clinical Innovation. Some people think I’m crazy for leaving a $70 billion company and one of the biggest names in health to join a start-up, but in reality, it was an easy choice. Why? The single thread running through each of the roles I have taken on has been the same: a chance to be a part of disruptive change to the nursing profession

The healthcare system in the United States is being completely transformed under our noses. It's hard to see day-to-day, but Amazon, Google, CVS, and Walmart are all quietly building things that will change the entire landscape of care. The problem is that legacy healthcare systems are not keeping up. Sure, more telehealth apps and wearables have been introduced, but there are very few examples of any legacy system really transforming itself. This includes legacy staffing companies. The way the healthcare industry manages its workforce is simply archaic. Healthcare professionals are burning out at an alarming rate, suicides among nurses are growing, staffing models are broken, and to top it all off… we have a nursing shortage in many states (and distribution problem across them).

The Future of Healthcare

There are three fundamental principles that are pulling healthcare and nursing into the future:

  1. Everyday life is the new care setting.
  2. Teams are linked to people and populations, not hospitals or other care facilities.
  3. Personal health is (or can be) enabled by technology.

This is being driven by the fact that both consumers and nurses’ needs are changing. People want the same convenience, transparency, and access they have shopping on Amazon, watching Netflix, or browsing social media also available in their healthcare experiences. The legacy systems have failed to meet these evolving needs in a meaningful way, and thus consumers, students, tech giants, and others have seized the opportunity to apply their innovation skills to healthcare. Case in point: in 2018 alone over $20 billion dollars was invested in healthcare start-ups.

The number one issue that demands the most time from health system leaders, and is also the largest cost to hospitals, is staffing. Nurses are frustrated with the staffing process, hospitals struggle with the cost, and the solutions to fix it have involved inflexible contingent workforce contracts, massive phone campaigns to beg people to fill open shifts, and a misguided attempt to retain nurses in a single unit instead of flexing to meet care demand. 

Healthcare doesn’t simply need incremental changes from industry leaders. It needs a complete overhaul in the same way Lyft and Uber transformed transportation, Facebook transformed media, Airbnb transformed tourism, and Amazon transformed retail. This is at the core of why I am joining Trusted, to build a new category of industry… one for the modern nurse

Why Trusted and Why Now?

I am an emergency and trauma nurse at heart. I worked clinically at both UCLA and Scottsdale Healthcare level one trauma centers and loved every minute of it. I’ve also published three books on how to lead healthcare innovation, nursing innovation, and evidence-based practice. One of my books, Leadership for Evidence-Based Innovation in Nursing and Health Professions, has been adopted by more than 800 university classes as required reading and was just released in its second edition. Its first edition was awarded third place for book of the year by the American Journal of Nursing. 

I have helped design and build simulation training centers at Arizona State, Ohio State, and the new Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine. I have led continuing education programs in large colleges of nursing and served as a system director for nursing education redesign, where I restructured eight days of lectures into three days of hands-on learning. And, for the past 6.5 years, I have been leading technology-focused nursing innovation at one of the largest health systems in the country. I helped build a new medical school from the ground up, led nursing focused technology development in a brand-new hospital construction project, and facilitated the redesign of a national nursing strategy that spanned nearly 60,000 nurses.

This path has continually brought me back to one central question: how can we improve nursing work?

Cue Trusted Health.

What if nurses were matched, through novel technology, to roles that aligned their passion, competency, skill set, and career goals to patient needs, care issues, and system-level demands? What if permanent, contingent, travel, per diem, and float staff were coordinated seamlessly to ensure all shifts were filled but also that patients got the right care, from the right person, with the right skill set? 

Oh… and what if we could match the above clinicians’ passions with their career aspirations? Imagine the reduction in burnout, in error, in frustration from nurses, patients, and the entire healthcare system! 

This is the “make over” that nursing and the healthcare workforce need. To stop settling for what's given and start building what we desire. This is what Trusted is building, and this is why I'm joining the team: to fundamentally change nursing and the healthcare workforce. In my new role, I will be working to change the conversation around innovation in the healthcare workforce, supporting product design, and building the capacity for innovation at Trusted to better serve all of the nurses we work with. Join us

If Trusted’s mission intrigues you, check out our Careers Page for new and evolving opportunities across the board. And if you’re a travel nurse looking for your next role, learn more about working with our Nurse Advocate team.