What is Nurse Innovator?

The Nurse Innovator Accelerator is a binational program that empowers nurses to take their innovative ideas from concept to prototype to production. Through education, training, one-on-one support, and access to resources for rapid prototyping and fabrication the NI Accelerator moves healthcare professionals into the entrepreneurial landscape. With a science and engineering focused approach, healthcare professionals become one step closer to improving the healthcare workplace by moving ideas from the bench to the bedside.

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  • Straight to Your Goal

    Curriculum centered around critical product development phase, one-on-one support, access to facilities and workspaces, special event programming - all designed to get you from idea to product.

  • Innovator Mindset

    Test ideas, build a prototype, and develop a business model and value proposition that will deliver the product in the right way to the right market.

  • Community Engagement

    Form a community of like minded innovators, develop critical connections, and access necessary resources.

Browse Lesson Plan

  • 1

    Chapter 1. Welcome & Introductions to Nurse Innovator

    • Self-Introduction

    • Startup Culture and Success Factors

    • General Resources

  • 2

    Chapter 2. Researching the Challenge, Users, and Solutions

    • Design Thinking

    • Creating an End-User Persona

    • End-User Persona Assignment

    • Concept Development

    • Design Brief Assignment

    • General Resources

  • 3

    Chapter 3. Concept Development and Working on a Solution

    • Prototype Fidelity

    • Low-Fidelity Prototyping Assignments

    • What is an MVP?

    • MVP Document Assignment

  • 4

    Chapter 4. Prototyping and Working with Makers

    • 1.1 Understanding Makers and Makerspaces

    • 1.2 Concept Design Demonstration

    • 2.1 Intro to Manufacturing

    • 2.2 Metal Manufacturing

    • 2.3 Polymer Manufacturing

    • 2.4 Ceramic Composite Manufacturing

    • 2.5 Vacummforming

    • 3.1 2D Manufacturing

    • 3.2 Laser Cutting

    • 3.3 CNC Machining

    • 4.1 Introduction to 2D Vector Design

    • 4.2 Installing Inkscape

    • 4.3 Inkscape Tutorial

    • 4.4 Business Card Design

    • 5.1 Intro to 3D Printing

    • 5.2 Printing Process

    • 5.3 Printing in Healthcare

    • 6.1 CAD Introduction

    • 6.2 Fusion 360

    • 7.1 Prototyping Electronics I

    • 7.2 Prototyping Electronics II

    • Bonus: App development

  • 5

    Chapter 5. Prototyping and Business Development

    • The Importance of Business Planning

    • Market Research

    • Business Revenue & Expenses

    • Business Formation

    • IP Protection

    • Pitching

    • Funding Options

  • 6

    Chapter 6. Exposition and Presenting the Final Product

    • What to Expect from the Demo Day

    • Structure and Logistics of Demo Day

    • Market Validation

    • Discussing Progress

    • Submitting Documentation

    • Pitch Coaching + Prototyping

    • Demo Day


The Real Rockstars

Maker Instructor

Cathy Chen

Cathy Chen is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Fab Lab El Paso: a digital design, fabrication, and education space. Cathy champions the Maker Movement and works closely with designers, engineers, developers, and educators to execute high impact programs for the border community. In 2016, she was named STEM Educator of the Year by Chevron. In 2020, she was awarded a grant from Tribeca Film Institute to produce a documentary short on a student DIY prosthesis story incubated at Fab Lab. She studied Literature at Duke University and Interactive Media Design Masters at Keio University in Tokyo. She completed a CORE Certificate from Harvard Business School. Cathy is a native of New York City, currently residing in El Paso, Texas.

Business Instructor

Erik Pavia

Erik Pavia has a deep understanding of startups and building communities and cultures of innovation. His company Pantheon is a fitness and wellness app designed for teams. It’s the first social fitness game. Through the app you can compete and cooperate with friends, family, workout groups, or work teams. It is a platform where people of all fitness levels can excel. They believe the winner isn't the person who runs the most, it's the person who tries the hardest. Erik has a BBA from UT El Paso and a law degree from Stanford University. He gained insight into the startup world as a volunteer at Start X, Stanford’s accelerator program. This led him to the founders of Knotch, Inc., an ad analytics startup company where he became head of operations. He returned to El Paso founded Pantheon, serves as an adjunct professor at UTEP where he teaches a business law course focused on new tech ventures, and is also the Entrepreneur in Residence at the MCA Innovation Center.

Nurse Innovator in Residence

Ernesto Holguin

Founder and CEO of OTEN Medical, Ernesto Holguin. Before becoming CEO and Founder of OTEN Medical, Ernesto started working as a dialysis nurse. As he got more involved in patient care, he noticed there was something missing in the care of diabetic patients. He then created a homecare device to assist patients drying and detecting ulcers on their feet.

Program Starts Soon!

Jumpstart your healthcare innovation journey!


  • Will this be a completely online course?

    All content is delivered online and weekly sessions will be held via a Zoom platform. However, around week 4 the main prototyping and product development phase of the program starts. At that time, depending on COVID-19 protocols, you will have access to the Fab Lab facilities in El Paso, Tx, and in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. We highly encouraged you to work with Makers in their facilities in order to get the most out of this experience.

  • Is there a cost to the program?

    No, it's completely free for our El Paso and Juarez participants.

  • What happens after the program ends?

    You will still have access to all the learning content and the community. Also the MCA Innovation Center will also continue to provide business and product development support for your idea.

  • How much time commitment will this program require?

    About 4 to 6 hours each week. The lessons will be available for streaming, so you can freely budget your time for learning. There will be weekly 1 hour Zoom session that is required of all participants. This is supplemented by one-on-one mentoring, team work, and hands on prototyping, which can be planned to fit your schedule.