Emergency Department Design Building Blocks Series: The Nurse Station
Presented by Huddy HealthCare Solutions – ED Design Specialists

This is a continuing series from Huddy HealthCare Solution’s ED Design Team on various components that may be designed in your new or renovated emergency department project.


Jon Huddy, AIA, NCARB, MArch, BA
President and Senior ED Designer
Huddy HealthCare Solutions – ED Design Team

B_FigAB_FigBWhile bedside charting with in-room computers or hand-held tablets is the future for emergency care documentation, the need to design a “home base” for staff still revolves around designing a “nurse station of the future.”  Avoid designing the old-fashioned HUGE/LONG counters (Figure A) that force staff to take long travel distances around the nurse station counter to access patient rooms, only to have to take the same long path back to their  computer workstation.

Your design team should challenge themselves to create innovative solutions that limit travel distances and open up visibility across the department.

An alternative to the long counter  is a lean design that allows immediate access to a workstation from the patient room.  See Figure B that displays multiple workstations that are designed as “touch down” island workstations with immediate access from all directions.

B_FigCB_FigDThe touch down stations can also double the quantity of workstations in the same available area by developing each station as double-sided (Figure C).  This doubling of work stations is accomplished by creating “high” and “low” work counters. One side utilizes a barstool type chair and the other side uses a standard chair (Figure D).  The counters can be lowered or raised in support of a sound ergonomic solution.

This solution was applied to the Emory University Hospital Emergency Department project (photo below) since there was limited area for internal expansion.  The final renovation project doubled the amount of work space from the original ED and created a lean solution for the staff.

While portable, hand held documentation devices will continue to push ED’s to the future with regards to mobile charting, the need to develop lean, supportive work environments will continue to be a large part of designing successful emergency departments.  For more information, please contact Jon Huddy at (803) 517-7522 or j.huddy@huddyhealthcare.com



B_Emory University Hospital ED Atlanta GA