Earl Swensson Associates, Inc. (ESa)
Firm's role on the project: Set up a research project to determine which flooring choices were best in specific treatment areas.
A collaborative research study conducted by St. Anthony Hospital and ESa sought to determine whether or not differences exist in the number of steps taken and the amount of energy expended by nurses when a hospital moves from a facility with centralized nurses’ stations to one with decentralized nurses’ stations. Additional goals included determining what nurses, who are working on units with these two different designs, perceived as contributing to or deterring from work activities; what changes occurred in reported job satisfaction; and if a reduction in patient falls occurred on the three involved units (surgical, neurology and cardiovascular) during the study period. The study is titled Walk in My Shoes: A Pre/ Post Hospital Relocation Research Project.
Understanding the amount of walking and energy expended by nurses in their daily work, in addition to nurses’ work environment preferences, and job satisfaction, may aid architects and engineers in designing hospitals that best meet the needs of these workers.
Prior to moving into the replacement facility with decentralized nurses’ stations, nurses were confronted with a number of built-in inefficiencies and challenges. These inefficiencies included equipment at opposite ends of the corridor, crowded nurses’ stations, one long hall with only one pass through, long distances to the Pyxis medication station and nurses’ stations from patient rooms and centralized med room, nurses’ station, trash and linen drop. Pre-relocation data collection revealed that nurses walked four miles per shift. While some nurses felt that WOWs (workstations on wheels), long halls, multiple supply/equipment locations and central nurses’ station were helpful, some others saw these factors as a hindrance. Other nurse dissatisfiers were a lack of supplies, double rooms, non-grouped assignments and lifting patients.
Post-relocation data collection occurred March through May, with nurses from the same three medical/surgical units that participated in the prerelocation study being invited to participate.
Pre and post-relocation data collection included a socio-demographic form, open-ended questionnaire, and inpatient fall data from each unit during the three-month period and pedometer records completed by participants for each shift worked during the collection period.