The Ohio State’s Deana Sievert on How Technology Has Shaped Nursing and How Nursing Can Shape Technology

In this episode… 

Ohad speaks with Deana Sievert, DNP, MSN, RN, Chief Nursing Officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, about her journey to nursing leadership, the challenges the field has faced, how technology has shaped nursing, and how new nurses are being trained in innovative ways.

Topics discussed:

  • Staffing issues at an all time high and some potential solutions to attract new recruits.
  • How tech innovators and clinicians need to listen to each other to achieve greater progress.
  • How technology such as VR and AI have already changed the nursing landscape, and what might be next.
  • How new nurses are being trained in innovative ways.
  • Balancing controlling costs with providing high-quality care and improving patient outcomes.
  • Reimagining what care looks like with services such as hospital-at-home.

Deana Sievert, DNP, MSN, RN on How Technology Has Shaped Nursing and How Nursing Can Shape Technology

Deana Sievert didn’t expect to end up in nursing leadership, and yet she says it has been more rewarding than she ever dreamed. Deana is the Chief Nursing Officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. She holds a doctorate of Nursing Practice with a specialization in Nurse Executive Leadership, a master of science in Nursing and Adult Health Nursing Clinical Nurse Specialist, and as of her interview with Healthcare Disruptors, she’s pursuing a PhD in Nursing Leadership. On the clinical side, she is dedicated to hospital and healthcare operations, with a particular focus on acute care, electronic medical record systems, inpatient care, and critical care nursing.

“I really started to see how I could have an impact and how I could be the voice for not only the frontline staff, but also the patients. And so it really ended up filling my cup, part of my career that I never really thought that I needed to have filled.”

On a recent episode of our Healthcare Disruptors podcast, Deana discussed how technology has shaped nursing and also how nursing can help shape technology.

How Technology Has Shaped Nursing

Although the nursing field has always seen its share of staffing shortages, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the worst one Deana had ever seen in her 30 years as a nurse. The field is still struggling. 

“What I would say is that one of the biggest challenges, and although it’s settling down a little bit from where it was even a year or two ago, the workforce issues that we are all having, it has really been just so severe. Being in healthcare now for 30 some years, I’ve lived through a couple of the nursing shortages now, and I will just say this last one was so different. 

“I think the reason why it was so different, obviously, with the pandemic, had a huge part of that, but we didn’t see the bounce back. And even now, today, when you look at our nursing schools or even medical schools, all of that, you’re hearing all of these stories about enrollment being down. And that’s very different from how it has been historically, where we always knew, ‘hey, this is temporary, we’ve got more recruits coming out,’ and that’s different now.

“Before, maybe they were maybe more of a shorter-lived problem around workforce. Now, I think this is going to end up being our new reality. In speaking with my colleagues around the country, they’re feeling that, too. They’re feeling like this may be our new reality. And I think that’s why, particularly over the last couple of years, we’ve all had to lean into different ways of thinking, innovations, technology. How are we beginning to incorporate all of those things into our daily workflows? And I think in some ways the pandemic, although there were certainly a lot of negatives about it, the fact that it’s forcing us and pushing us to move into more technology, move into more innovative spaces, I think is really exciting.”

Deana hopes that this negative will turn into something positive, driven by technology. If there are new advances to improve care for patients as well as the jobs of their caregivers, it will by extension attract more people to join the ranks of nursing.

How Nursing Can Help Shape Technology

Technology can be a great problem solver for the nursing field, but it could also stand to learn from nurses as well. Too often, Deana says, tech developers cater their ideas and marketing to the doctors rather than the nurses, but that isn’t necessarily the best approach. 

“Some of the greatest technology companies and innovators that I’ve worked with have really kind of come into the healthcare space, into that clinical space, and really just see the work that we do. 

“I think sometimes as clinical people we get so narrow minded, because this is how we do it, and this is how we’ve always done it, and this is the way we’re always going to do it. And I think that’s very shortsighted of us as clinicians. I relish bringing in vendors and whatnot to come into that clinical space and show them ‘here’s what our problems are, here’s what we’re struggling with. Can you help us with this?’ 

“And I think when you put that clinical mind together with that technology mind, that innovation just automatically happens. Because working together, I think we can really come up with some really amazing and great things. And I think certainly listening to that clinical voice is imperative. But then I think also the clinicians have to be willing to let down their guard and also with the technology voice. And so I think my biggest piece of advice would just simply be jump in there with the clinical team and let’s innovate together. Because I think together we can solve way more problems… 

“So many times that’s one of the barriers of bringing technology in, is that it’s really isolated to only this clinical team, and to have that ability to like an ultrasound, to have it used by physicians, but then also have that same technology be used by nurses, that’s just a game changer on our side for being able to really control that work and really be able to get the best case situation out of that.”

To find solutions that work for the whole care team, developers should talk to the providers who will most likely be using their tech—which is sometimes the nurse caring for a patient, not the doctor.


One solution and certainly a potential place for nursing and technology to grow side by side is a reimagining of care altogether. Deana says that patients whose condition is emergent will likely always need hospital-based care, but what about less urgent situations? In some other countries such as Japan, as well as a few areas here in the US, the healthcare system is already implementing the alternative: providing care right in the patient’s home. If more providers in the US decided to try this approach, it would be the perfect place for technology to make their work even easier and patient outcomes even better. 


Although Deana didn’t intend to become a leader in nursing, she has made it her mission to improve not only patient outcomes but the experience of nurses like herself who are providing excellent care.

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