Nurses are particularly aware of the effects of aging. The average age of U.S. nurses happens to be 46.8–the highest of all occupations in the world. Years of lifting and moving patients, and walking several miles during every shift, take a toll. Nursing also ranks among the top occupations for work-related back injuries—more than coal mining and manufacturing.
It is possible, however, to make nurse environments safer and more efficient. For example, the design of the central core unit—an area where nurses gather supplies, medications, check patient records, and consult with coworkers—is a good place to start.
Providing better lighting for reading prescriptions and locating medications, supplies, and equipment, and placing these items within arms length will reduce strenuous bending and reaching. Smart floor layouts also will reduce the amount of walking and give nurses more time to be with patients.
These steps will have a positive impact on the satisfaction and performance of nurses and address the particular realities of an aging workforce.