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Nurses as Leaders in Healthcare Design: A Resource for Nurses and Interprofessional Partners.

Book cover courtesy of Herman Miller Inc.

The American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association (AHA), developed its “Guiding Principles for Building the Hospital for the Next Generation” to identify what the organization considers valuable assumptions and principles for stakeholders involved in designing and building hospitals, such as the idea that operations and facility design must be mutually supportive.

“The way you design a facility has a significant impact on the way you’re going to deliver patient care, and the ability for nurses — and all health care providers — to work effectively,” says Pamela Thompson, MS, R.N., CENP, FAAN, CEO of the AONE and senior vice president of nursing/chief nursing officer for the AHA.

When nurses and designers work together, “you end up with just such a better product,” Thompson says. “It’s the blending of two areas of expertise: one that knows the work that’s going to take place in the building, and the other that knows how to build a building. If you have one without the other, you run the real chance of designing a building that no one can use.”

The Nursing Institute for Healthcare Design (NIHD) is a leadership, education and advocacy group founded specifically to promote the integration of clinical expertise into the design of health care environments. The institute conducts educational events, such as a monthly webinar series; provides grants for studies that include nurses on the research team; partners with others in the health care design and construction industry; and produces material related to nurses’ role in facility design. In conjunction with Herman Miller Inc., NIHD recently published, Nurses as Leaders in Healthcare Design: A Resource for Nurses and Interprofessional Partners. The book, co-edited by Jaynelle F. Stichler, DNS, R.N., NEA-BC, EDAC, FACHE, FAAN, and Kathy Okland, R.N., MPH, NA, EDAC, is available online via Herman Miller.

“We advocate that from the beginning [of a design project] you’ve got to have the right people in the room,” says NIHD president Susan R. Silverman, MSN. “That’s what we’re trying to do with this book. We’re trying to say, bring in nurses early, educate them in the design process and use them appropriately in this process. We want a dialogue. We want to assure that the priorities of the project start with the patient and the family. We want to make sure that all the right voices are heard.”