Designing a Hospital? Ask Nurses First

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, February 7, 2012

When the nurses at Cass Regional Medical Center in Harrisonville, Missouri, got to pitch in on the design of their new hospital, they weren't just concerned with the color of the walls.

"They got very excited. They really wanted to look it from a perspective of ‘How is it going to help the patients and families?'" explained Twila Buckner, BSN, MBA, NE-BC, Cass Regional's chief nursing officer. The nurses wanted to know, "what [was] going to help them do their jobs easier and faster and better?"

A growing number of hospitals are involving nurses in the design of their facilities, consulting with them about everything from the size of patient rooms to the art that hangs on the walls. Doing so not only helps improve patient care; it can also improve morale and employee satisfaction.

That was the case at Cass Regional, which opened a new facility in September 2009. According to Buckner, the staff worked with the architects and builders in designing the new building and had a say in everything from what patient and treatment rooms would look like, to the functionality of the showers, furniture, and equipment, to how the patients would flow through the hospital.

Alexandra Wilson Pecci

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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