Need better evidence-based design for hospitals? Ask a nurse

As hospitals become increasingly willing to listen to nurses' opinions in healthcare facility design, a book coming out this fall will help guide nurses through the redesign process, Healthcare Design Magazine reported. Multiple contributors will discuss topics including innovations led by nurses and trends affecting design.

One reason nurses are being sought out for design projects is the growing use of evidence-based design, the idea that design influences medical outcomes, according Kathy Okland, president of the Nursing Institute for Healthcare Design and an executive editor of the book.

"Nurses are very familiar with evidence-based practices based on their experience in evidence-based medicine," Okland told Healthcare Design, "so it's a natural alignment for them to step into [evidence-based design] and interpret that for others who may have found that science to be rather new."

The team behind one proposal for a hospital room design intended to improve outcomes, for example, said its design would improve patient engagement, reduce patient discomfort and caregiver inefficiency, and limit the risk of hospital-acquired infections.

Jaynelle Stichler, also an executive editor of the nursing design book, told the magazine that healthcare design is now a nursing career option. Firms specializing in healthcare architecture are hiring nurses to "translate the needs of the healthcare environment to the architects and the design language back to the clinical providers," Stichler told Healthcare Design.

Nurse input also helps solve design problems after they occur. During a redesign of Texas Children's Pavilion for Women, for example, nurse feedback prompted builders to add faucets during construction so that water temperatures could be adjusted to bathe newborns.

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