How Hospital Design Affects Nurses

by Premier Medical Staffing Services on February 12, 2021 in Career Development


And How to Improve It

Dealing with a global pandemic is challenging, but it is also an opportunity to acknowledge the miraculous work performed by our doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. These people keep saving lives day after day, and we need to do whatever we can to make their jobs easier and more bearable. That is why their superiors insist on the most functional hospital design they can create. So how does this factor affect the nurses in particular, since they are the ones who spend the majority of their time caring for the patients?

Less walking, more nursing

nurse running due to poor hospital designThis is something the patients and the doctors probably do not notice, but the fact is that nurses spend most of their time walking. Not helping people, not caring for them, not saving their lives – but walking!

From their station to the supply room to the patients to the doctors and back to their station, it seems that all they do is walk. This is something scientists have been wondering as well, and several studies state that most nurses walk around five miles during a 12-hour shift! So, the first step in improving hospital design is minimizing the distance nurses cover.

Reorganize the rooms

In order to do that, the people running a particular hospital have to reorganize patient rooms and group them into small clusters. Instead of using the traditional method of long rows of rooms, they need to be circular and organized so that a nurses’ station is in the middle of the circle. This way, nurses can reach all the patients in a matter of seconds instead of having to run to some of them – and maybe reach them too late.

Alternatively, you can also use a slightly different hospital design approach that’s just as good and efficient, both for the nurses and the patients. This one consists of connecting a few patient rooms into one huge area where dozens of beds are put together. This will, again, help the nurses monitor several patients at the same time and respond the second they notice something is wrong.

Establish a new floor plan

Another way to improve hospital design and help nurses cover less distance is by organizing different areas in a new way. Establishing a new floor plan that is more nurse-centric and makes more sense to them is something all nurses will appreciate. It is also a great way for management to show the nurses how much they value their hard work.

Talking to the nurses and encouraging them to suggest a new floor plan might be the best way to go. They already know what areas they are using and all the relevant details regarding them – from how to get from the lab to the patients the fastest to what is a clean room environment and what sort of equipment they can find there. They can provide valuable input for the new floor plan. And if it is at least a bit more nurse-oriented than it used to be, nurses are going to be happier and the patients will be safer too.

A place to relax

In the end, we must not forget that our nurses deserve some time off during their shifts, especially now that we know how much they walk while they are at work. This is why creating a special relaxation station for the nurses is simply a must. This should be the area where they can hang out and take the load off.

Nurses’ lounges do not have to be too spacious, too glamorous or too luxurious – they just need to be there and provide the nurses a chance to feel better during their lunch break. This can become the place where they consult with their colleagues, talk to each other about finding their path in the healthcare industry and simply forget all about the stress they face every single day. Doctors around the world already have similar lounges they have been using for decades, and we need to give the nurses the same treatment as well!

Being among the busiest and most responsible people in the hospital, nurses are doing more for patients than any of us can imagine. This is why spicing up the design and making it more nurse-centric is a must, and it’s one of the best ways to help the patients even more at the same time!

Emma JoyceThis blog was guest authored by Emma Joyce, a writer who specializes in health-related topics – from various dieting ideas and health problems in different stages of life to leading a healthy lifestyle and introducing positive changes into your daily routine. With several years of experience writing about these issues she prefers writing from her own experience whenever possible or, if that’s not the case, she does thorough research on the topics she covers.

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