The new hospital at Rush University Medical Center, opening in January 2012, was designed with energy efficiency in mind. While great time and effort were put into creating an environmentally friendly building, the plans went beyond the physical environment. The new design also addresses the efficient use of human energy — a force vital to quality health care.
For example, instead of one central nurses' station, the new building will have many smaller stations. "During planning, we decided to decentralize our nurses' stations to achieve better patient care while conserving staff energy," says Eileen Dwyer, RN, MS, a director in the Office of Transformation at Rush.
The decentralized stations will be positioned closer to patient rooms and will offer clear views down hallways, enabling staff to see and respond to patient needs more quickly — saving valuable time and energy.
Other design changes were also made to conserve staff energy. In the new building, all medication rooms and patient care supply areas will be in the same place on every floor, and all in-room supplies — from thermometers to blood pressure cuffs — have designated locations. This means staff will spend less time searching for supplies and equipment and more time with patients.
Dwyer says, "When the environment around them supports efficiency, staff can keep their mental and physical energies centered on patient care."
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