Nurses as Leaders in Healthcare Design; A Resource for Nurses and Interprofessional Partners

Herman Miller Healthcare has partnered with the Nursing Institute for Healthcare Design (NIHD) to produce a book focused on nurses’ and other clinicians’ roles in planning and design of healthcare environments to optimize patient, provider and organizational outcomes. 

This book builds upon the success of Herman Miller’s recent publication in collaboration with D. Kirk Hamilton entitled Rigor and Research in Healthcare Design: A Decade of Advocacy. The book is targeted for release at the 2015 Healthcare Design Conference in Washington D.C., November 14-17.

As a useful reference and resource, it is a basic guide for clinicians, healthcare leadership and multiple disciplines – as well as a relationship development tool for the Herman Miller Healthcare sales team. It was the intent of the authors to create varied visual tools for the reader. This graphic-rich collection will aid the reader in applying the concepts outlined.

Kathy Okland RN, MPH, EDAC and Jaynelle Stichler DNS, RN, NEA-BC, EDAC, FACHE, FAAN served as executive editors to facilitate the development of ALL NEW content focusing on the value of clinical involvement in health design. Authors are NIHD members, as well as number of other select clinical leaders / authors.

A variety of influential nurse leaders and other key healthcare design players have contributed to the content of the book. Please see the attached chart at the end of this document for names, titles and affiliations.


Chapter by Chapter Content


  • Louise McDonald – Herman Miller Healthcare
  • Kathy Okland – NIHD / Co-Editor
  • Jaynelle Stichler – NIHD / Co-Editor
  • Tim Porter O’Grady – Senior Partner, Tim Porter-O’Grady Associates, Inc. Atlanta
  • Kathy Sanford - SVP and CNO for Catholic Health Initiatives, Denver 


Chapter 1:  Perspectives on the Foundation & History of Nursing in Healthcare Design 

  • The history of Nursing philosophy and involvement in healthcare design
  • The genesis of the Nursing Institute for Healthcare Design (NIHD)
  • Nurse Leaders, nursing leadership and a collaborative spirit in healthcare design
  • Nurses’ competencies, roles and responsibilities in the architecture design continuum

Chapter 2:  Why Design Matters:  Maslow’s Hierarchy for Healthcare Design

  • A compelling argument articulates the importance of design for health and well being
  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is uniquely applied as a framework to inform design
  • Attributes of space and aesthetic elements are applied using the same framework

Chapter 3:  Nurse Led Innovation in Healthcare Design

  • An intriguing study of innovation as an essential process in design today
  • Tools for innovation success are outlined from group constitution to storytelling and rapid prototyping
  • Three Case Studies from interviews of nurse innovators recognized for  breakthrough innovation –which introduced significant & altered design (Single room maternity care; LDR/LDRP , Acuity-Adaptable Room, Single family room; SFR - NICU)
  • The accounts of disruptive innovation in healthcare design which led to advancement, the inherent process of change and transition as a guidepost for future innovation

Chapter 4:  Translating the Vision into Reality

  • The impact of vision expressed through Guiding Principles is emphasized as a first, defining step in planning and design
  • A differentiation of key visioning terms; Mission, Vision, Values, etc.
  • Critical Success Factors are outlined for project first steps that inform design intent
  • This chapter is graphic rich with examples of project organization, planning, operational planning and design, as well as  space programming


Chapter 5:  Using Evidence to Guide Design Decisions

  • A comparison and contrast of Evidence Based Design and Evidence Based practice
  • Nurses’ roles in leading evidence-based design (EBD) and research
  • How to’s: asking questions that lead to a research project, using evidence to inform a project, where to search for evidence, critiquing evidence, measurement, disseminating results towards best practice
  • Examples of studies conducted by nurses making a difference in healthcare design.


Chapter 6:  Structure to Achieve Outcomes: Leading the Design Process

  • Planning factors that support success from Pre-design to facility start up
  • Graphics that illustrate architectural symbols, terminology, project schedule, and estimating probable project costs
  • Solutions for knowledge gaps, group process and team engagement


Chapter 7:  Orchestrating the Details for Success

  • Project team infrastructure that includes organizational and operational factors,  internal and consultant teams and their interdependencies
  • Essential tools to include Lean, Project communications, and medical equipment planning
  • The impact of supply logistics on the bottom line; the psychology of supplies and learnings from the HMHC research partnership with Parkland Hospital

Chapter 8:  Transition and Activation Planning

  • Transition and Activation planning are defined and differentiated and their critical role in achieving  organizational goals
  • Processes that prepare an organization to deliver the best quality of care as intended from the project’s conception; staff orientation & training, regulatory encounters & licensure, move in
  • Merging  the power of culture and place amidst organizational change


Chapter 9:  Nursing Influence on Post Occupancy Evaluations

  • A project reaching full circle with careful analysis of the influence of Guiding Principles, Vision, and research that contributes to a growing body of knowledge
  • Sage advice from nurses as experts in planning & design
  • As a basic element of nursing practice, the “science” of post occupancy evaluation and the influence of the nurse executive’s role in design of the pre and post occupancy evaluation is emphasized

Chapter 10:  Future Trends and the Impact on Healthcare Design

  • Chapter contributors offer their insight “on the future, on the convergence of nursing and design, and how to properly usher in this evolution effectively. “

Chapter 10 Authors include: Debbie Gregory, BSN, RN, DNP(c), Senior Clinical Consultant, SSR; Joyce Benjamin, FNP-BC, Founder, JB House Calls & Primary Care, LLC; Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN President, American Nurses Association; Susan B. Frampton, Ph.D. President, Planetree Patricia Givens, DHA, EdM, RN, NEA-BC, Chief Nursing Officer/VP Patient Care Services, Parker Adventist Hospital; D. Kirk Hamilton, FAIA, FACHA, EDAC, Professor of Architecture, Texas A&M University; Debra Levin, EDAC, President and CEO, The Center for Health Design; Tim Porter-O’Grady, DM, EdD, ScD(h), APRN, FAAN, FACCWS, Senior Partner, Tim Porter-O’Grady Associates; Mary Shepler, BSN, MA, NEA-BC, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Saint Joseph Hospital, Denver, CO; and Tammy Smith Thompson, AIA, EDAC President, Institute for Patient-Centered Design.

AfterwordJanet Zeigler RN, MN, MBA, EDAC, Director of Healthcare Consulting, Herman Miller Healthcare


Glossary of Terms (Courtesy of The Center for Health Design)