My recent job shadow of a med/surg nurse proved enlightening. It reinforced my belief that there should be a space available either directly inside or outside of every patient room to store supplies and equipment. Decentralizing important items to these areas would enable nurses to work more efficiently. And it would cut their travel time to supply areas and equipment rooms.
Storing supplies in or near patient rooms will require those spaces to be maintained, but this responsibility should not be shouldered by nurses. Their job is to care for patients, not to hunt and gather supplies.
There also should be a place in every patient room to store select pieces of equipment, such as IV poles and pumps. Patients now are sicker and the equipment storage needs for them has increased. The equipment might vary depending on the specialty of the unit, but this step would make it immediately accessible for use.
We architects already allocate and plan space for supplies and equipment in labor delivery recovery/postpartum rooms. If we use this same approach and reallocate the square footage that typically would go into an equipment room, that space could be used to provide storage in or near the patient room. This would eliminate wasted motion, give nurses what they need–where and when they need it–and allow them to focus on giving care.