We spend a lot of time on the patient spaces in hospitals, but there are actually more nurses (and allied health personnel) working in the building. Where do they go? Let's take a quick look at the different spaces that we build for them to work in.

• Number one is at the bedside. We all know that one side of the bed is for the family and one side is for the caregiver. With the EMR, you may need to add blocking for a wall-mounted PC on that side or leave room to park a WOW (wireless on wheels). Many rooms have a handwashing sink on that side and if you will spend just a few minutes in shop drawing coordination, you can leave enough counter space to the side of the sink so that nurses can put down a handful of supplies required for a patient care procedure without having it fall into the sink. The other big issue for nurses working at the bedside is "reach.” If a 5’2 nurse cannot reach it, you have not found the right place to put it.

• Number two is a mix of "nurse perches" and "satellite nurse stations"—small work areas just outside the patient rooms. The first thing to understand here is that nurses do not like to work with their backs to what is coming at them, so the more these spaces can be put in alcoves or angled to the corridor, the happier the occupants will be. This will also be best for preserving patient privacy. When the work station is small, it is all the more important to verify the actual size of everything to be stored or placed there during shop drawing coordination. At the so-called satellite stations, the staff typically want to be at the computer or on the phone, so do not skimp on the data outlets.

• The number three place for nurses is a "main nurse station" or "communication circle" or just plain old team conference room. This is going to be the place for a detailed discussion of patient care plans, hand-off at shift change, consultation with specialty staff, or clinical education session, and may also be a repository for paperwork and administrative supplies. For these spaces, make sure everyone understands the door functions and make sure that the room is acoustically secure, as these conversations do not need to be overheard by the whole unit. When in these spaces, nurses can be uncomfortable if they feel cut off from the patient rooms, so access to patient monitoring screens and nurse call stations is important.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention..........LEAVE ROOM FOR THE TRASH CANS!