The architects used this information to design a unit that would cut down on walking time. Instead of a long corridor with a common area at one end, the unit was broken up into pods and supplies were located in multiple areas so nurses could get them from the location to which they were closest.
"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," Avendt says.
After the tower opens, more research will be done to see how the design is affecting workflow.
"We've since learned that [field research] is not common for people to do. We paid a little bit of money to do that, but in the scheme of things it was well worth the investment," Avendt says.
"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."
Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.