During the design of its 615,000-square-foot patient tower set to open in 2019, ProMedica Toledo Hospital in Ohio conducted research to identify and refine ways to improve nursing care and efficiencies, including the walking distances of nurses on the floors during a shift.
Researchers shadowed ICU nurses and intermediate-level medical-surgical nurses and assessed the existing floor plan, used a parametric modeling tool, and created heat maps to provide a graphic representation of what a nurse's 12-hour shift looked like in terms of workflow and walking distances.
"One of the big [revelations] was around our whole process of medication passing," says Deana Sievert, RN, MSN, metro regional chief nursing officer and vice president for patient care services at ProMedica.
The architects used this information to design a unit that would cut down on walking time.
"We were able to take them from a three-mile journey on their shift to 1.5 miles. We cut in half the steps that they were taking," says Alison Avendt, OT, MBA, vice president of operations.
After the tower opens, more research will be done to see how the design is affecting workflow.
"Everybody wants to give the nurse as much time as possible to be with the patient [and] try to take away the things that are not value-added in the nurse's day," Avendt says.
Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.