Today in the chart

Nurse Disrupted: A Virtual Nursing Solution Changing the Game

From bringing healthcare to an underserved community to onboarding virtual nurses to work alongside their bedside colleagues, Loughlin has implemented multiple threads of connectedness in nursing.

“Some of my darkest moments have been my inspiration,” recalls Bre Loughlin, MS, RN, the founder and CEO of Nurse Disrupted, Inc.

In 2006, Loughlin was burned out working as a kidney and liver transplant nurse. Despite her passion for nursing, there was one particular day she couldn’t bring herself to get out of her car. “I couldn’t go and do the work that I had been so devoted to. Thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes, but it’s not the moment I run away from. It’s the catalyst and one of the biggest building blocks of my career.”

Nearly two decades later, Loughlin has successfully launched a groundbreaking virtual nursing platform.

Virtual Nursing in Homeless Shelters

In 2012, Loughlin was invited to join the Clinical Informatics team at Epic in Madison, Wisconsin. At the time, she was living in Sacramento and working for Sutter Health. Before that, she worked for Hitachi Consulting in Seattle, with some of her biggest projects being consulting for Microsoft and T-Mobile. Her claim to fame, she says, is the development of the LDA Avatar in Epic, which she describes as the “simplification and gamification of nursing documentation.”

During the 2020 pandemic, she volunteered at one of Madison’s homeless shelters. “We were all cut off when the pandemic hit, but the shelters were fully cut off. I just knew I had to do something about it,” Loughin says. She also served in an elected position as the Chair of the Workforce Advocacy Council with the Wisconsin Nurses Association. “I really believe that most of us, in just a few bad turns, could also find ourselves in a compromised spot needing help. We’re all connected,” she empathizes.

She describes how she initially assembled the first team for what would become the first virtual nursing software program. Eventually, 400 nursing students across nine Wisconsin nursing schools provided healthcare for over 42,000 people experiencing homelessness. “We were able to save one community $2.2 million in unnecessary emergency department visits. I can’t sway everyone on my opinion on homelessness, but I can convince people to buy into the economics of addressing it.”

By 2022, the demand for implementing the solution in hospitals was apparent. 

Designing a Solution for the Nursing Shortage

“As an entrepreneur, I don’t think of and watch problems like they’re on a television set. My mindset is that when I see a problem, I think of a solution.”

Loughlin’s problem: There is a nursing shortage, with at least 85% of nurses saying they’re going to leave the bedside. 

Loughlin’s solution: Creating a virtual nurse platform to relieve staffing shortages and reduce nurse burnout by giving nurses more opportunities to work from home.

“My life's work has come to this moment. I've been in nursing for over 20 years. Starting at the bedside in kidney and liver transplant and evolving to a nurse exec at one of the biggest healthcare software companies in the world. I started Nurse Disrupted in 2020 because no one was designing with nurse workflows at the center of their software. Virtual nursing had to emerge, but solutions were over-engineered, and physician-focused.” she says. “So, it was up to me to assemble some of the greatest talent to make something truly transformational. The people I work with often say about our platform, ‘you can tell this was created by a nurse.’”

Some of her design philosophies include:

  • Iterative design. The product lives and breathes. It changes as the user’s problems and needs change.
  • Informed design. “I was drawing on every moment that I had spent at the bedside,” Loughlin explains.
  • Simple design. She doesn’t believe that sophistication is synonymous with complexity. The most sophisticated and successful products often have the most humble design. A prototype for the telehealth portal side of her software initially had four buttons. “It couldn’t be more simple than this,” Loughlin proclaimed. “But people were getting confused between the four buttons. It was only when I created a single-touch interface that everything really took off.”

Loughlin’s approach is always with the user first. “When the technology is right, it actually melts away, and everything becomes just the person-to-person interface. A lot of companies try to say, ‘If people don’t understand our product, they aren’t very smart or tech-savvy,’ but I don’t believe in bending people into using a broken feature or design.”

How Does Nurse Disrupted Help Nurses?

So, how does it work if you’re a nurse using Nurse Disrupted? Two angles interact with the technology, Loughlin explains:

  • Bedside nurses: Nurses work three 12-hour shifts in the hospital. The bedside nurse defers administrative tasks and paperwork to the virtual nurse.
  • Virtual nurses: Nurses work from home for a four-hour shift once per week. When they work from home, they focus on patient admissions and discharges.


You have three patients on an ICU-stepdown floor. You’re busy, and the charge nurse hands you an admission when trying to pass meds. Fortunately, you remember you have a virtual nurse working from home, who is a colleague you know and trust. You grab the Care Station, which is the telehealth portal for Nurse Disrupted. You make a video call to the virtual nurse with a simple tap. The virtual nurse is at home, using the same EHR system the hospital uses, and they document the admission and discuss expectations and plans with your patient. You can view that admission documentation as soon as it’s completed. And the whole interaction took place while you passed meds to your other patients. 


  • Deferred administrative workflows. Admissions and discharges are left to the virtual nurse, allowing the bedside nurse to focus on hands-on tasks.
  • Improved patient education and satisfaction. Patients receive undivided attention from the virtual nurse. This also decreases readmission due to proper education.
  • Streamlined onboarding. Nurse Disrupted training only takes about 30 minutes. 
  • Improved nurse satisfaction. Loughlin asks her nurse users if Nurse Disrupted is a utility that lifts work from their day. “The answer is resoundingly a ‘Yes’.” Nurse Disrupted also has a community app for nurses to exchange ideas and give one another kudos. 

One of the greatest benefits for hospitals is the return on investment. Emergency room boarding per patient costs a hospital $8,000 to $13,000 per hour, Loughlin shares. Even shaving off 20 minutes of each boarding time recoups savings in the hundreds of thousands. “The only reason executives talk about nursing ratios is because they’re worried about cash. So let’s make money,” she proclaims. 

Connecting Communities

From bringing healthcare to an underserved community to onboarding virtual nurses to work alongside their bedside colleagues, Loughlin has implemented multiple threads of connectedness in nursing. 

Many nurses enter the workforce because of their desire for connectedness, and connectedness is often an antidote for burnout – Burnout, like the experience Loughlin had nearly twenty years ago, where in one entrepreneur’s darkest moment, she had an idea that sparked a solution.

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