During his day shift at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, Anthony Scarpone-Lambert enters a patient’s room. The lights are off, but he knows he needs to change the infusion without disturbing the patient.

He has two options: turn on the overhead lights or try to navigate in the dark with a hand held light.

He wanted to solve this dilemma by inventing what he and his co-founder call the uNight Light, a portable light emitting diode or LED that nurses can use to illuminate their work area without interrupting a patient’s sleep.

Mr Scarpone-Lambert and his co-founder Jennifferre Mancillas refer to light as a breakthrough for health care workers on the front lines.

“We’re really proud to be very specific to the clinical setting,” said Scarpone-Lambert, 21, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing who met Ms. Mancillas, 36, at a 2019 hackathon sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, who encouraged nurses to work together on solutions to health problems.

They were able to fund the product, which went through 30 prototypes and iterations, with grants and personal money, as well as funding from launch accelerators and awards, Ms. Mancillas said. The couple raised around $ 50,000 through the start-up Lumify Care.

At first glance, uNight Light, which retails for $ 22, seems no different from other portable lights such as those used by cyclists and runners. However, it has features that set it apart from others on the market including different light modes – blue, red, and white. The blue light can help promote vigilance, Scarpone-Lambert said.

“Your red light can be used to really amplify your main vision,” he said. “And it’s also less annoying than bright white light. The white light can be used for dental examinations and the like when you need to look at something more closely, e.g. B. blood or fluid. “

Some studies have shown that the color red can trigger a person’s fight or flight response and psychological responses such as fear or fear, which lead to the body feeling more alert, according to Mariana G. Figueiro, former director of the lighting research center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institutes. However, more research is needed, she said.

Red light, which has a long wavelength, can help promote alertness, while blue light, which has a shorter wavelength, tends to do the same while suppressing melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep, she said.

Recognition…David Maialetti / The Philadelphia Investigator

A 2019 study by Thomas Jefferson University found that 44 percent of nurses spent most of their time caring in near-total darkness, and that hospital lights can negatively affect a patient’s circadian rhythm.

Ms. Mancillas, who works as a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit at Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera, Calif., Said she recently checked a child’s breathing tubes with the uNight Light without looking for a flashlight.

“It’s that tool you didn’t know you needed until it’s right on your scrub top and you say,” Oh my god, where was that all along? “Said Ms. Mancillas.” It makes life so much easier. “

Isis Reyes, an intensive care unit cardiac surgery nurse at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said patients complain of nighttime disturbances when nurses give medication, check vital signs, or monitor machines.

“I had a colleague who wore the night lights that runners use on his forehead,” Ms. Reyes said. “He’d actually wear this at night and it was actually kind of funny because there were some nurses who said, ‘Oh my god, this guy’s too much’ but it worked for him.”

For Rebecca Love, president of the Society of Nurse Scientists, Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Leaders, uNight Light shows that nurses must be seen as leaders in health care innovation – a role she believes was often reserved for doctors due to systemic power structures.

More than 400 nurses have tested the uNight Light, and more than 90 percent said it was helpful, the inventors said. They have received 1,500 orders and will start shipping next month.

The pandemic, which has overwhelmed hospitals, underscores the need for the device, Scarpone-Lambert said, further motivating him and Ms. Mancillas to bring it to market.

“I would say that this type of innovation brought Covid to life,” he said. “It Underlines the really important message that frontline healthcare workers and patients deserve more support than ever. “