Neonatal intensive care units have historically been constructed as open units or multiple-bed bays, but since the 1990s, the trend has been toward single family room (SFR) units. The SFR design has been found to promote family-centered care and to improve patient outcomes and safety. The impact of the SFR design NICU on staff, however, has been mixed.
The purposes of this study were to compare staff nurse perceptions of their work environments in an open-pod versus an SFR NICU and to compare staff nurse perceptions of the impact of 2 NICU designs on the care they provide for patients/families.
A prospective cohort study was conducted. Questionnaires were completed at 6 months premove and again at 3, 9, and 15 months postmove. A series of 1-way analyses of variance were conducted to compare each group in each of the 8 domains. Open-ended questions were evaluated using thematic analysis.
The SFR design is favorable in relation to environmental quality and control of primary workspace, privacy and interruption, unit features supporting individual work, and unit features supporting teamwork; the open-pod design is preferable in relation to walking.
Incorporating design features that decrease staff isolation and walking and ensuring both patient and staff safety and security are important considerations.
Further study is needed on unit design at a microlevel including headwall design and human milk mixing areas, as well as on workflow processes.
Educational Development Department, Baptist Health Lexington, Lexington, Kentucky (Ms Winner-Stoltz); Nursing Administration, Baptist Health Lexington, and College of Education, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky (Mr Lengerich); Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Baptist Health Lexington, Lexington, Kentucky (Mss Hench and O'Malley); Women's and Children's, Baptist Health Lexington, Lexington, Kentucky (Ms Kjelland); and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Franciscan Alliance, Indianapolis, Indiana (Ms Teal).
Correspondence: Regina Winner-Stoltz, MSN, APRN, PPCNP-BC, Educational Development Department, Baptist Health Lexington, 1800 Nicholasville Rd, Ste 301, Lexington KY 40503 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This study was conducted at Baptist Health Lexington.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.