An investigation of the influence of pediatric unit design on nurses' fatigue

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sangni Qu (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Anna Marshall-Baker

Abstract: Fatigue has long been a critical issue affecting nurses' performance. Many types of fatigue are associated with nursing work, such as physical fatigue, mental fatigue, emotional fatigue, compassion fatigue, etc.. This study mainly focused on nurses' physical fatigue due to the fact that nursing work is always affiliated with physical requirements, such as walking, lifting, carrying, and transferring. Among the physical requirements, walking has been a critical issue affecting nurses' physical fatigue levels. A study has shown that nurses spend more than a quarter of their working time walking (Burgio, Engel, Hawkins, McCorick, & Scheve,1990). This not only diminishes the time that nurses spend on patients, but also put extra burden on themselves. Research has shown that unit layout design can affect nurses' walking patterns. For instance, nurses working in a radial shaped unit walked less than nurses working in a rectangular unit (Sturdavant, 1960). Consequently, this study aims to reduce pediatric nurses walking distance, and therefore reduce their physical fatigue, through studying nurses' perceptions of pediatric unit design. This study consisted of three principal procedures: online survey, interview, and behavioral mapping. Overall, there was little statistical significance yield between nurses' demographical and physical-fatigue-related variables from the online survey to aid in making future design decisions. During the interview session, the researcher learned nurses' perceptions on unit spatial adjacencies, design preferences, and design layouts that affect nurse' physical fatigue. The results produced a diagram of unit spatial adjacencies derived from nurses' perceptions. Three general layouts emerged from nurses' design: "centralization", "pods", and "bilateral decentralization". The behavioral mapping procedure allowed the researcher to study nurses' walking patterns and behaviors during the nurses' shifts. Another diagram, based on the frequencies of each work space that nurses visited during observation periods, was illustrated. Finally, a new unit design was proposed to reduce nurses' physical fatigue for the current unit based on the knowledge from literature and original research.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2014
Evidence-Based Design, Fatigue, Interior Design, Nurses, Pediatric
Evidence-based design $x Health aspects
Pediatric clinics $x Design and construction
Nurses $x Health and hygiene
Fatigue $x Prevention

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