Health care design is a very complicated type. There are specific systems and approaches for every aspect of their design. This field does not design elements a certain way just because it looks pretty. I find this to be very refreshing. A space may look great, but what does it truly do for the user? I feel this is why health care is such a difficult field to truly master. Although difficult, we can design spaces that fulfill the requirements of the needs of the user while still having a direct and streamlined design.
Health care facilities have transformed very much over history. One of the most prominent figures the progression of designs is Florence Nightingale.
Florence Nightingale was truly an amazing women. Her influence began when she was a nurse in the Crimean War. She would go around and help wounded soldiers from both sides of the war. During this time, she was appalled by the conditions of the facilities that housed the wounded soldiers. The conditions are said to have been filthy, and unsanitary. The wounded soldiers typically were kept in their uniforms that were ridden with dirt and various particles obtained from the war field. This horrible conditions were the cause of serious spreading of infections. The death rate from infection was much higher than the death rate caused by the actual initial wound. Florence Nightingale sought ways to reduce the effects of these horrible conditions.
In the above image we see an example of the type of interior Florence Nightingale created. This typical floorplan maximized efficiency of space by lining rows of beds against a wall with windows. Since religion was a very important factor in society at that time, there was typically an alter in the center of one end of the room. This placed a huge focus on the higher power within the interior. Florence Nightingale’s plan also stressed the improvement of the conditions of the environment. The wounded were placed in beds with clean linens and nurses attended to them regularly. Her transformation of the health care facilities of that time reduced the spread of infection and the death rates caused by that spread dramatically.
Unfortunately, infection still spread with the original Florence Nightingale Plan. One of the main reasons for this is because everyone was placed in the same large room regardless of their sickness. Florence Nightingale tried to alleviate this problem by helping with a new design of health care facilities. We get an idea of this new plan in the image seen above. While the above image is not an actual revision plan we get the idea of what it was. It had a cross shape with the nurses area being placed in the center where the wings intersect. This allowed four different quadrants for the patients. With this plan, the patients were grouped based on the type of their aliments. This plan further reduced the spreading of infection with the patients. The image seen below is a view of what the interior of the revised plan would look like.
Florence Nightingale was an extraordinary woman. Not only was she passionate about her profession, but this passion led to great strides of improvement in the health care facilities. Her choice to follow her calling of health care instead of living the life of a woman of high society that she was born into has impacted our health care facilities throughout history. We can only hope a few more of us choose to follow our passions with that same intensity we saw in her.