While Covid-19 has put the spotlight on innovation in healthcare in recent months, many with experience within the industry had already been working on ideas, tools and systems to make the sector better.
Nursing graduate Ali-Rose Sisk is the founder of SafeCare Nursing Solutions, a system that digitises written documentation, allowing more time for patient care.
‘We as nurses had reduced patient contact time as a result of excessive paperwork’
– ALI-ROSE SISK
Now 25, Sisk grew up in East Cork where she worked part-time in a nursing home. “I loved working with older people and people who have dementia which subsequently shaped my career pathway,” she told Siliconrepublic.com.
Sisk’s college journey started with nursing where she said she was involved with very ‘hands on’ clinical medicine and science. She then began research master’s in medicine and health, which gave her more in-depth knowledge about the level of research involved in medical decision making.
“Throughout the course of my MSc, I found a problem in that we as nurses had reduced patient contact time as a result of excessive paperwork,” she said.
“As I moved through my career, the time on paperwork and the paper ‘work-load’ continued to increase. This greatly reduced time spent with patients which in turn reduced quality of care. I thought long and hard about how we could improve this problem for nurses both nationally and internationally, SafeCare was the solution.”
SafeCare is a software that aims to completely digitise nursing documentation to decrease administrative time. “We have validated a working prototype and we are currently looking for funding to get to market,” said Sisk. “We are exploring options right now with the aim to raise €250,000 in April 2021.”
Blending healthcare with tech
“I knew that trying to start my own software company as a person without technical skills would be a challenge but I also knew that if I believed it, it could happen, and if I believed in me, people will believe in me.”
Sisk said a major factor to hr success was acknowledging her weaknesses when it came to technical skills but to also identify her strengths, which was her experience within the sector.
“If I felt doubtful or disheartened, I would revisit my strengths, park them and put them ‘in my intellectual arsenal’ and focus back on my weaker areas and aim to improve them. I also went out and searched for the right type of people to surround myself with who would help me reach my goals and make this happen.”
Research into dementia
Outside of her work as the founder of SafeCare, Sisk was working on a Marie Curie PhD scholarship in London to develop NHS palliative care services for people with early-onset dementia.
“My research focuses on a particular type of brain degeneration named Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD), which is a common cause of young-onset dementia,” she said.
“The idea behind my research is to explore what the palliative care needs of people with these type FTLD dementias are in terms of physical, psychological, social and spiritual pain. Understanding the types of pain that people with FTLD may experience will allow us to better care for them within our services.”
However, when the pandemic hit, Sisk returned home to Cork to help on the frontline and is now balancing clinical work with her PhD studies and her business. She also admitted that her biggest career challenge is time management.
“I have to run my schedule like a small army, and that is OK because it is working. It will always be a challenge, I imagine.”
‘You may think that you would love to be a medical doctor, but you actually need to ask yourself why?’
– ALI-ROSE SISK
Sisk also advised that anyone who wants to pursue ideas to go for it. “Ask people that know the sector, not just family and friends. Think about where you see yourself, where you want to be in life and what you want out of a job,” she said.
“You may think that you would love to be a medical doctor, but you actually need to ask yourself why? It may be that you love science, love working with people etc. but medicine can entail 24-hour shifts on call so it’s important to take the things you ‘want out of a job’ and explore how you can find these in the most effective way.”
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