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Starts at $9.98 per contact hour
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4 hours $8.98
8 hours $7.98
12 hours $6.98
20 hours $5.98
30 hours $4.98

The Power of Design--Healthy Buildings, Healthy Communities

2.0 Contact Hours
Target Audience: Nurses, healthcare professionals, and interested individuals
Purpose/Goal: The outcome of this course is for the learner to describe design elements that support healing environments, including evidence-based design (EBD), “green” practices, sustainability, physical security, cultural responsiveness, building design, furnishings, and wayfinding in healthcare facilities.
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Today’s healthcare leaders face myriad challenges in providing safe, effective, high-quality care for patients while creating a work environment that supports the health and well-being of staff. The design of their facilities plays a critical role in these two vital aspects of care.

Upon completion of the course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Explain why the development of healing organizations is important in today's health care industry.
  • Describe the elements of evidence-based design that impact health care.
  • List reasons why effective design affects the organization's bottom line.
  • Discuss green guidelines for health care.
  • Explain the importance of sustainability to health care organizations.
  • Discuss the importance of physical security to health care facilities
  • Describe the role of cultural responsiveness in health care facility design.
  • Explain the characteristics of furnishings that create healing spaces.
  • Discuss the role of wayfinding in health care design.
  • Identify wayfinding elements that support healing environments.

Today’s healthcare leaders face multiple challenges in the delivery of care. Unpredictable reimbursements, shortages of virtually every type of provider, expanding disclosure requirements, increasingly demanding consumers and employees, unprecedented quality and safety requirements, aging facilities, and skyrocketing expenses are just some of the forces influencing the provision of care. While these forces present complex challenges to leaders, they also present opportunities, especially in the area of healthcare design. Specifically, when healthcare facilities are designed and built or renovated, opportunities arise to improve patient care and provide supportive, therapeutic working conditions for employees. Evidence-based design (EBD) of architecture, as well as exterior and interior design, can profoundly impact patient outcomes, employee health, and organizational productivity (Sadler, DuBose, Malone, & Zimring, 2008).

According to many experts, the design of a healing environment should seek to minimize the impact of the building’s location on those who live and work in it as well as the surrounding community and the entire world. This fundamental aspect of design, especially in healthcare buildings, is consistent with the Hippocratic Oath of “First, do no harm.” Laux (2008a) states, “There are two major questions: What does the building say about you and your concern for patients, your workers, and the environment, and how are these values reflected in every aspect of the design?” (p. 7).

Leibrock & Harris (2011) asserts that client outcomes suffer from overbuilt U.S. healthcare institutions and staff-intensive protocols for client care. Leibrock & Harris call for “healthcare models that improve patient outcomes, lower liability, and reduce costs” and adds that “empowering design details can reduce costs as patients take responsibilities for their health care and decrease their reliance on staff... Without these details, healthcare facilities are places where patients are overexposed to strangers and separated from family, where independence is lost to providers or to disabling design” (pp. xv–xvi).

Multiple studies on the effects of healthcare design suggest that all hospital clients (and visitors) have the following design-related needs (Brown, 2013; Miller & Swensson, 2012):

  • Physical comfort, which includes appropriate room temperature, pleasant lighting, comfortable furniture, and freedom from unpleasant odors and harsh, annoying noise
  • Social contact, which includes personal privacy (limiting what others see and hear of you) and controlling what you see and hear of others
  • Symbolic meaning, which includes the array of nonverbal messages embodied in design (for example, cramped, uncomfortable waiting rooms suggest that hospital administrators don’t respect their clients very much)
  • Wayfinding, which includes the ability to find the way easily through the maze of equipment and hallways and to avoid inadvertently wandering into a restricted, embarrassing, or even frightening space

Complete the course post exam (CE Test) with a score of 80% or greater. Complete all fields of the course evaluation form. Certificate of Completion is provided once the course post exam is passed per criteria above.

  • American Board of Managed Care Nursing
  • ANCC - American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • AOTA - American Occupational Therapy Association
  • ASWB - Association of Social Work Boards
  • California Board of Behavioral Sciences
  • California Board of Registered Nursing
  • California Department of Health, Aid, and Technician Certification Section
  • District of Columbia Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing - Certified Nursing Assistants
  • Florida Board of Respiratory Care
  • Florida Council of Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Florida Council of Licensed Midwifery
  • NAADAC - The National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors
  • NCBTMB -National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
  • Florida Board of Massage Therapists


Practice Level:


Content Focus:

Occupational Therapy Process

Course Expires:

September 01, 2021

  • Cyndie Koopsen, RN, BSN, MBA, HNB-BC, RN-BC, HWNC-BC
  • Caroline Young, MPH
Jurisdictional Requirements:

Continuing education (CE) licensing requirements vary by jurisdiction, are not well defined, and may change. These CE requirements may vary in terms of the number of hours required to the types of courses that must be taken. ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC recommends you contact your licensing board or accrediting organization for the latest continuing education requirements of your state or territory. Compliance with CE requirements is the responsibility of the individual health care provider. Health care providers must understand the CE requirements in their jurisdictions, and be sure they are up-to-date on any rule changes that affect their license. For further information, please see our Accreditation Information.

Accommodations for Disabilities:

Every effort will be made to accommodate your special needs. To request accommodations, please contact us.

Conflicts of Interest and Relevant Financial Relationships:

The authors/planning committee members have no conflicts of interests or relevant financial relationships to declare relevant to this activity.

Commercial Support:

No commercial support has been received for this activity.

Non-endorsement of products:

Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing nursing education only and does not imply ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC approval or endorsement of any commercial product.

Off-label Use of Products:

None of the authors intend to discuss off-label uses of drugs, mechanical devices, biologics, or diagnostics not approved by the FDA for use in the United States.