The impact of facility improvements on hospital nurses

HERD. 2008 Winter;1(2):5-13. doi: 10.1177/193758670800100202.


Objectives: The primary purpose of the research was to assess differences in nurses' perceptions of their job, hospital, and building features following the opening of a new hospital wing. Secondary purposes included assessing the impact on nurses left behind in the existing facility after the new wing opened and considering ways that nurses could more effectively contribute to facility design decisions that directly affect them.

Background: Research related to the design of healthcare facilities is growing, yet studies of the impact of facility features on hospital staff is far less common than studies of the impact on patients.

Methods: Survey data were collected from a hospital's nurses six months before (N=235) and six months after (N=238) some of the nurses (N=65) moved to a new wing. Response rates were 49% and 55% for rounds 1 and 2, respectively. A test study also was conducted two months post-move (N=206) to enable assessment of a novelty effect. Focus groups also were conducted following the completion of round 2 data collection.

Results: Significant differences were found between the round 1 and 2 samples for quality of patient rooms, safety, pleasantness, quality of workspace, job stress, job satisfaction, and service quality. Findings from the test study held up in round 2.

Conclusion: The design of the hospital impacts nurses and may impact their job satisfaction and stress, even the decision whether or not to remain a hospital nurse. A well-designed hospital is not only important to patients; it also is important to those who serve them.

MeSH terms

  • Hospital Design and Construction
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Nurses*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital
  • Surveys and Questionnaires