Green Buckeye RN

Nurse.Com: Nurses Help Steer Design of New Hospital Facilities
January 5, 2011, 12:50 pm
Filed under: News

Monday December 27, 2010

Nurses today have a key role as advisers to architects and designers in the physical design of hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

The nurses’ input helps ensure an emphasis on quality and safety in the physical layout of new or renovated facilities, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s publication Addressing the Quality and Safety Gap — Part III: The Impact of the Built Environment on Patient Outcomes and the Role of Nurses in Designing Health Care Facilities.

The publication, part of RWJF’s Charting Nursing’s Future series, describes nurses’ vital roles in redesigning facilities throughout the country.

Among the examples in the brief is the work of Cheryl Herbert, RN, of OhioHealth, who oversaw the planning, design and construction of a new facility, Dublin Methodist Hospital. The design includes evidence-based features such as single-bed patient rooms to reduce the risk of contagion, enhance privacy and support family involvement; hand-washing sinks in every patient room; and acuity-adaptable surgical ICU rooms to reduce the moving of patients as their conditions change.

“Any place nurses would be working — the emergency department, maternity, the medical-surgical intensive care unit, we made sure to include them in our advisory group for that area,” Herbert said.

According to the brief, a number of common design choices reflect nurse input. These include ventilation and filtration systems to improve air quality and remove allergens and pathogens; ergonomically designed patient rooms, including patient lifts and handrails, as well as beds and nursing stations designed to reduce patient falls and staff injuries; and decentralized unit layouts to increase the time nurses spend at the bedside.

The brief also notes that nursing schools have begin to incorporate design issues into their curricula. Examples include programs at Holy Names University in Oakland, Calif., Texas Woman’s University School of Nursing and Arizona State University.


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