Healthcare environments can be very stressful and exhausting environments. And, because of the nursing shortage, there is a tremendous incentive to recruit and retain valuable staff. Creating healing environments for nurses is a powerful tool to aid that effort.
Places of healing and respite might be as simple as including discrete areas within the nursing unit to sit and take a deep breath. Sometimes, however, nurses just need a place to get away.
Creating a single occupancy respite room would allow staff to recharge the spirit, rejuvenate the body, and replenish the soul. No televisions or phones. Possible soothing features would include a lounge chair, aromatherapy, a water feature, dimmable lighting, and soft music.
These respite spaces must be thoughtfully and adequately programmed so that staff has room to breathe. And just like we provide access to natural light for our patients and families, we must also give our nurses this same caring treatment. Some staff spaces are being designed with access to outdoor space adjacent to the staff lounge. Having space to be outdoors where nurses can get a breath of fresh air can be very curative.
As designers of healthcare environments, we have a fabulous opportunity to be the change agents—and create healing environments that will help recruit and retain nurses.