integrated, intuitive staffing and communication tools just for nurses and nursing departments

Studies show that higher levels of nurse staffing are associated with better outcomes so why is it more common than not that the patient queue can get so long while there seems to be enough staff to care for them?

While there are many factors that play into the answer to that question, NurseGrid created a platform for the department floor to adequately make staffing decisions by having a real-time option to flex up and down based on the needs of the patients on any given night so that the manager can run a more efficient floor, the nurses aren't over or underworked, and the patients receive better quality of care.

I joined the NurseGrid team as one of the first full-time employees and was the voice in the executive room that advocated for design and user experience since day 1. I helped hire key members of the team that went from 4 when I began to nearly 40 when I left.


Evolving the brand

The brand was meant to reflect the company's pioneering spirit of taking risks in an industry that's very risk adverse. Minimal interface elements meshed with complex line patterns to create a harmonious balance of elegance.

The NurseGrid platform created a community for nurses across the country as well as made quality products for nurse managers. In order to complement both of these goals, I gave both the logomark and wordmark an update and expanded on the brand messaging and visual direction.

Big dreams, small budget

As with any venture-backed startup, runway and burn rate are important to keeping the company afloat. Sometimes it means not buying brand new standing desks, other times it's not buying everyone a 27" Apple Thunderbolt Display, but at NurseGrid, paying for a photogarphy crew to plan and direct a photoshoot wasn't going to be possible.

With no real budget available, we needed imagery for marketing assets. To make things even more difficult, stock photos of nurses and the medical field in general leave a lot to be desired. With little other options available, I decided to rent an 5D MK2 with a few panel lights and shot our own stock photography in the training hospital at the nursing school of the University of Portland.

The results were great and being able to shoot the shots myself, I was able to align the imagery very closely to the brand I led in creating. If I'm ever in the same situation, I will most definitely do it again.

Creating a pleasant mobile experience worth talking about

The NurseGrid mobile app was the key to the company's success. In order to drive the growth needed, the experience had to be intuitive, highly-efficient, and effective. A nurse would need to be able to quickly identify the value the app provided and be able to quickly share it with the rest of their colleagues.

By leveraging common mobile interface patterns and cutting out the pain points, the app proved to meet all the of the goals we set out to conquer. The app launched shortly after I joined the company and has since received 1,500,000 downloads and averaged a 4.9-star rating.

Leading efficient department floors with NurseGrid Manager

With hundreds of thousands of nurses using the mobile app to manage their schedules, managers needed a way to oversee the activity and schedules on their floor. NurseGrid Manager was created to enable a manager to see who was working when as well as approve or deny any open shifts, swaps, and flex offs that were going on.

The design philosophy behind NurseGrid Manager was to present the manager with exactly what they needed in the context of each screen. For example, on the dashboard, I wanted to make sure they had only the information and actions they needed and not to overwhelm them with any extraneous content.

We built more advanced features for managers such as a robocall tool that replicated the functions of a phone tree except with intelligence and automation built in.

Working closely with nurses and nurse managers, the design was constantly iterated and new features were being pushed out at a very fast pace due to a very close relationship between design and all of the engineering teams.

Managing entire hospital floors on the Go

While the Manager platform allowed a nurse manager to keep up with their department at their desk, they needed a way to manage their department on the go.

NurseGrid Manager Mobile gave the power of action to managed departments wherever they were. Whether they were on the way home on the bus or grabbing a coffee in the cafeteria, they would be able to keep a keen eye on any outstanding approvals that needed their attention.

Since there was so much research and design that had already been done on the mobile front for NurseGrid Mobile, laying down the framework for the Manager Mobile experience was a straight-forward process. I was able to focus at a feature-level such as customizing a dashboard experience as well as more manager-specific features such as a robocall tool.

Design Systems Are Required

The key to scaling design for multiple platforms and products was creating a strong design system.

We managed the design system via Git and hosted it on BitBucket so the engineers were able to pull the latest version before they worked on a feature as well as diff between versions.

This system was created and maintained before tools such as Abstract were available and Figma was still in early beta so we managed full Sketch files and I generated PNGs for diff-ing. However, being able to use a wide variety of version control systems for design files has been invaluable in determining how to efficiently scale and manage a design system.

I will never forget the team I helped build and recruit at NurseGrid. From helping raise $3.6 million in venture capital, growing the team, and establishing the team culture, I am very happy that it all ended in a success for the investors and company.

Note: This page doesn't show the full process, including concepting and ideation, due to either an NDA or the product has not been released yet. Want to see how the sausage was made? Please contact me to see if that'd be possible.