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The Legacy of Florence Nightingale's Environmental Theory: Nursing Research Focusing on the Impact of Healthcare Environments

December 2014
EBD Journal Club


Zborowsky, T. (2014). The legacy of Florence Nightingale’s environmental theory: Nursing research focusing on the impact of healthcare environments. Health Environments Research & Design Journal, 7(4), 19-34.


Objective: The purpose of this paper is to explore nursing research that is focused on the impact of healthcare environments and that has resonance with the aspects of Florence Nightingale's environmental theory. 

Background: Nurses have a unique ability to apply their observational skills to understand the role of the designed environment to enable healing in their patients. This affords nurses the opportunity to engage in research studies that have immediate impact on the act of nursing. 

Methods: Descriptive statistics were preformed on 67 healthcare design-related research articles from 25 nursing journals to discover the topical areas of interest of nursing research today. Data were also analyzed to reveal the research designs, research methods, and research settings. These data are part of an ongoing study. 

Results: Descriptive statistics reveal that topics and settings most frequently cited are in keeping with the current healthcare foci of patient care quality and safety in acute and intensive care environments. Research designs and methods most frequently cited are in keeping with the early progression of a knowledge area. 

Conclusions: A few assertions can be made as a result of this study. First, education is important to continue the knowledge development in this area. Second, multiple method research studies should continue to be considered as important to healthcare research. Finally, bedside nurses are in the best position possible to begin to help us all, through research, understand how the design environment impacts patients during the act of nursing.

Keywords: Evidence-based design, literature review, nursing