Space plays an important role in security, staff and patient safety, communication and physical demands on caregivers. Designers must strive to understand the relationships between different activity zones to prioritize adjacencies and configurations. Understanding the distribution of medication, food, supplies and information all contribute to the arrangement of spaces.
Remember that patients visiting the station may have limited mobility and need a little extra space to move. Also allow ample space for storage shelves and other necessary furniture and equipment.
The nurse station needs to support the many ways people interact for learning and accommodate generational mentoring and apprenticeship as well as allow for different group sizes (e.g., one-to-one and one-to-many). More and more, the delivery of healthcare is integrated and collaborative – the standard nurse station of yesterday no longer supports this type of interaction.
Information overload leads to confusion, fatigue and disorganization. The nurse station environment needs to support many different types of information exchange, but must do so strategically: Maintaining patient privacy, planning for a reduction of noise and clutter, appropriate lighting levels and a variation of physical and acoustic characteristics all contribute to reduced info-overload.
The healthcare construction boom requires evidence for effective design of nurse stations, including evidence supporting workflow processes, computerization, integration of technology, communication of caregivers, and optimal patient outcomes.
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