Category Archives: Institutional design

Nov 12 2013
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Recent Research About Nursing, November 2013

This is part of the November 2013 issue of Sharing Nursing's Knowledge.

Creating Healthy Workspaces for Older Nurses

The nursing workforce is aging, in part because the nation's economic difficulties have prompted some nurses to delay retirement. A new literature review by Jaynelle Stichler, DNSc, NEA-BC, FACHE, of the San Diego State University School of Nursing, examines ways hospital work environments might be fine-tuned to help older nurses navigate the health challenges associated with their physically demanding work. The article was published online on October 17 by the Journal of Nursing Management.

Noting that Centers for Disease Control & Prevention data indicate that older workers' on-the-job injuries tend to be more severe than those suffered by younger workers, Stichler offers recommendations culled from 25 separate studies conducted since 2002. They include:

  • Ergonomic seating and countertops with the correct height for charting tables, and adequate space for keyboards, in order to prevent strains caused by working in improper body positions;
  • Adequate lighting and non-slip floor surfaces to reduce the risk of falling;
  • Decentralized linen, equipment, and supply storage in or near patient rooms, and decentralized nursing stations, in order to diminish walking distances;
  • Electrical and medical gas outlets placed on either side of the patients' beds and at an easily accessible height, rather than behind or above the head of the bed, so that nurses won't have to strain to plug in equipment;
  • Enhanced task lighting options over beds or on swing arms to ease eye strain and help nurses with visual acuity problems; and
  • Barrier-free patient bathroom and shower designs, with floor drains and shower curtains, so nurses needn't use towels to mop up water.

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