Forum: Designing the ideal nursing station, idea #2

by Tess Godwin on August 28, 2010

I agree with my colleagues:  hybrids nursing stations work best.

Decentralized stations put the staff closer to the patient; however, they also decreases the camaraderie and mentorship provided by more senior staff.  If nursing stations are too decentralized, younger nurses, fresh out of school, are missing the opportunity to learn from older staff and glean information from the seasoned professionals prior to initiating a procedure/medication that they are unsure of or uncomfortable performing.True, the “chit-chat” factor of a central nursing station can be a problem but administration and management of the unit can set the tone for these areas.

We have clients who locate a few of their seasoned staff in the central station with the newer staff. Once the new staff members are more proficient and confident in their skills and know the hospitals “systems”, they are moved out to the decentralized stations. We’ve also designed hospitals with no central station but rather a few smaller sub-stations with individual stations between every two patient rooms…as well as units without central stations or substations. There are increasing options with the changes in technology.

Meanwhile, changes in technology continue to have a significant influence on design. In the past, centralized stations were required to accommodate paper records (review and updating), physicians’ orders/dictation, auxiliary service reports (such as Lab, Imaging), patient monitoring and communications, etc.  New technology allows for the data to be processed and received anywhere (on or off the unit) and this change has resulted in new nursing unit configurations.
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