Space that Heals: A Case for Nursing Focused Design

An outspoken advocate for enhancing nurses’ working environment, Farrow principal Ian Sinclair explores the critical role played by nursing staff in hospitals while raising awareness about the intangible benefits of humanistic design.

This paper highlights how current hospital design criteria fail to recognize the critical role of nursing. Given that nursing represents 50 % of the total salary and wages budget of the average Canadian hospital, it is imperative that special attention be made to ensure the Ministry of Health, Architects and Planners understand the tangible and intangible benefits of humanistic design on the working environment of nurses.

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Call to Action

1. Ask Ministry of Health officials where they stand on this issue?
Put them on the spot and educate them to the benefits that healing design standards can have on nurses and the profession as a whole.

2. Get involved right away.
Most design and construction decisions are made months and often years before the first hole is dug in the ground. If you show up to the table too late, your voice will not be heard. Ask your administration how you can get involved in committees that should set the guiding principles for the design of your new hospital. Get involved before the architect is hired. Try to influence the architect selection criteria so that it includes demonstrated experience and understanding of humanism in design and healthy building design. Nurse involvement will result in buildings that are healthier for all it touches.

3. Put your heart and soul into the message.
Expect to see obstacles and roadblocks on your journey. The more passion you have for these design principles, the more the message will be heard.