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By Kerrie Cardon, RN, AIA, ACHA
Design matters. I spent 14 years as a registered nurse before receiving my architecture degree. For the past 21 years, I have specialized in healthcare architecture programming, planning and design. The programming, planning and design of healthcare environments is very personal for me as both a nurse and an architect. Working in white shoes for all of those years gave me a deep appreciation for and understanding of the power of space. Safe, efficient and healing environments impact everyone who uses those spaces – patients, families and staff. Well-designed spaces can promote and enhance the patient healing process. Those spaces can reduce medical errors – or contribute to them. And spaces can support the caregiving process, which in turn enhances staff recruitment and retention.
Intuitively, we always knew about the power of space. Space can influence how patients heal, how families comfort, and how nurses work. What we once knew intuitively is now more tangible as all of these factors, in one way or another, influence outcomes and reimbursements. The Power of Space is the first in a series that will discuss a wide array of topics related to the programming, planning and design of healthcare environments. The more functional aspects of space will be discussed such as lean, operational processes, and the impact of workflow and processes on programming, planning and design. I will also share some ‘thought starters’, and some nontraditional, innovative and thoughtful concepts around the design of space to support the healing process, not only for patients, but also for staff who give so much of themselves. Caring for caregivers is essential. Designing places of respite for staff to refresh, rejuvenate and recharge is crucial.
As architects and designers we can make a difference in people’s lives when they need it most. We can design spaces that bring comfort to patients, families and staff. Bring comfort through the creation of environments that help patients heal and go home to their families. Bring comfort by creating environments of respite that support families as they assist their loved ones in their healing process. Bring comfort by creating safe, supportive and efficient environments that give time back to staff; time that in turn, they can give back to their patients. Yes, design matters!
Kerrie Cardon, RN, AIA, ACHA
Kerrie has over eighteen years of comprehensive experience in the planning and design of all types of healthcare facilities. Prior to her work as a registered architect, she worked for fourteen years as a Registered Nurse in Intensive Care/Coronary Care Units, in the Emergency Room, and on Orthopedic, Pediatric, and Medical/Surgical floors. Using her extensive knowledge in the medical fields, Kerrie brings an added layer of value to the planning and design of healthcare projects. Kerrie’s journey has taken her to Herman Miller Healthcare where she has a role as a knowledge integrator and healthcare consultant.