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Designing a Hospital? Ask Nurses First

By Alexandra Wilson Pecci  
   February 07, 2012

"The CEO took a really big approach and decided to really involve nursing and those at the bedside in the design because he really felt like the employees were closer to the patients and would better know how to design the hospital," Buckner told HealthLeaders.

Involving the bedside staff in the design of a facility is a smart move. According to a research brief from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, "nurses at all levels and in every setting have a critical role to play on multidisciplinary teams charged with assess­ing, planning, and designing new and replacement facilities."

The paper discusses the importance of nurse involvement in hospital design using case studies from hospitals around the country. For example, the nurses at St. Mary's Medical Center North in Powell, Tennessee, "advocated for wider doorways to facilitate patient handling, nonslip floors to prevent falls, and supply servers with pass-through doors and view windows to allow nurses to see patients from the hallway and a list of attributes of these smartly designed hospitals," the research brief said.

Similarly, rooms at Cass Regional are large, and not only provide enough room for equipment and transporting patients, but for the nurses to move around easily. ADA-compliant showers allow nurses to simply wheel patients directly into the shower in a wheelchair if needed, Buckner says.

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.

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