the mechanics of his treatment,” Ty said. “It became a bridge to our communication.” He created a model with moving parts, including

the gantry, onboard imaging and couch. Made com- pletely out of his own Lego brick sets, it was a tangible and far less intimidating structure compared with the actual machine that occupies an entire room, Ty said. More importantly, it helped create a connection between nurse and patient. “I was able to effectively communicate with my patient, and I am proud to say he completed his radiation therapy regimen without any interruptions.” Besides their mutual enjoyment of Legos, Ty had

something else in common with his patient. Ty’s older son, Nicholas, has autism, and he called upon his own personal experiences when helping and educating this young man. Ty’s son also was the reason he became a nurse.

After witnessing how perplexed healthcare provid- ers were when assessing the needs of children with autism, Ty pursued a nursing degree and then began serving on a task force that identified deficits of community providers who work with individuals with developmental disabilities. He plans to earn a doctoral degree in nursing with

a focus on data management, informatics and public health. Ty also hopes to help establish organizational policies addressing the needs of the developmentally disabled population.

It doesn’t end there In May 2014, Maimonides Medical Center was the first hospital in the country to host a Mini Maker Faire, show- casing nursing innovations and inventions. Because of Ty’s aptitude for creativity, Kelly Reilly, MSN, RN-BC, CHSE, director of nursing for research, EBP and ed- ucation at Maimonides, invited Ty to help organize the Mini Maker Faire, where he showcased the Lego Linear Accelerator. “Maker Nurse has been instrumental in increasing

the awareness of the innovative spirit of nurses all over the U.S.,” Ty said. “I was pleased they showcased the Lego Linear Accelerator, the MRI model and other medical models of imaging machines I created at their World Maker Faire in New York City for the past three years.” In September 2015, he was featured as a Maker Nurse

by MakerCon, an organization supporting inventions, and Lego recognized Ty as a Lego Maker in August 2015, awarding him a prototyping prize for the Lego Linear Accelerator. Today, New York University Langone Medical Center is using Ty’s original prototype in its radiation oncology

Photos by David DeBalko

On previous page, Victor Ty, RN, works on his Lego Linear Accelerator. Above, Ty poses with his wife Amelita Mirand-Ty, BSN, in front of some of his Lego creations.

department. And other hospitals in the tri-state area have shown an interest in the model, he said. Always up for a challenge, Ty recently came up with his newest iteration of the linear

accelerator, using the Lego Mindstorms EV3 robotic system. His younger son, Benjamin, who is 12, is collaborating with him to complete a programmable linear accelerator so the model will move in a similar fashion to the actual accelerator. “Benjamin, using a computer program by Lego, will program the angles of the

gantry [the part of the machine that emits radiation] based on the prescription of the physician,” said Ty. “He can duplicate the movements on the Lego model to show the patient the position of the gantry at any point during their treatment.” Ty has continued to design models of other imaging and radiation machines such

as the MRI, CT, proton beam and high dose afterloader. His MRI model is being used by the child life specialist team at Maimonides, helping

children to become familiar with the machine so they are less fearful and will not need to be sedated during the procedure. Along with the model, the team has incorporated sound effects and a PowerPoint presentation, which are shown to the children and family prior to the procedure. As a result of their efforts, the team has convinced about 50 children to forego sedation, resulting in less risk to the child and a family savings in anesthesia costs, Ty said.

Words of wisdom Ty shares some words of wisdom for those who are considering creating something in nursing practice. “As nurses, I think we possess an inherent knack for identifying and solving problems.

If you have a solution for a complex dressing or something to make your work more efficient, share it with your nursing community,” he said. “Collaborate and empower nurses to step up and create solutions to our practical and real problems at the bedside or in an ambulatory setting.” •

Janice Petrella Lynch, MSN, RN, is nurse editor/nurse executive. TO COMMENT, email

2016 • Visit us at 11

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