In early 2011, Vendome Group, LLC, publishers of HEALTHCARE DESIGN magazine; The Center for Health Design; and Nurture by Steelcase challenged students with the theme of “waiting” for the first annual Nurture Collegiate Healthcare Design Competition. Teams were asked to create a conceptual design that would provide opportunities for improvement in the environment and/or processes within.

Submitted by Lauren Gloriod, Sara Mae Martens, Rhaynelina Estevez, Lindsay Slavin, and Alex Jones from the University of Kansas, the winning project, “Nourish Newborns: A Place for the Comprehensive Care of Neonates and the Family Alike,” stood out from the many entries received with its solutions to the task at hand.

The project involves a new NICU design completed by a local architecture firm for an existing hospital in an urban area located in the Midwest. The building itself is a typical multistory hospital with 9-foot ceiling heights and interstitial space, and the NICU design provided by the architecture firm uses the private family room model. The student team’s entry works outside of these rooms in the allocated waiting area, creating a waiting space based on evidence found in its research.

The team’s hypothesis states that “research shows that family participation with neonates has a positive effect on the newborn. Therefore, providing waiting spaces that care for the families becomes crucial. In the NICU, the implementation of a range of spaces which provide support for waiting families will result in lower stress levels for families, comprehensive care for families, improved safety, and increased market share.”

The team achieved this goal by breaking up the spaces under four general categories, each with specific stated goals in mind. Terraces and alcoves for quiet reflection; positive distractions such as artwork, libraries, and games; and ample natural light are provided to reduce stress, while a welcoming entry and warm, soothing colors help with the goal of increasing market share by providing instant visual appeal to visitors. Families are catered to via services such as expanded family zones, libraries, dining areas, and other homelike services. Secure storage areas and check-in desks help to enhance patient safety. 

The team also suggested several areas for further development that could be implemented to enhance the experience for patients and their families, as well as to provide further evidence to be used in other NICU designs later.

Congratulations again to the winning design team for a job well done!


Nurture’s Collegiate Healthcare Design Competition Returns in 2012

Following the tremendous response and outstanding level of participation in the competition’s first year, Nurture by Steelcase is pleased to present the 2012 Collegiate Healthcare Design Competition!  

Last year, 45 student teams from across the nation had the unique opportunity to participate in a competition created to engage and immerse students in evidence-based design and encourage them to develop insight-based solutions that foster better, safer, higher quality healthcare experiences. 

Information on the theme for this year’s contest, along with entry information, will be available in early February 2012. Submissions will be due in May 2012. Finalists will be announced in August 2012 and will have their work recognized in HEALTHCARE DESIGN magazine.

Winners will be announced in September 2012 and will receive:

  • Complimentary registrations to the HEALTHCARE DESIGN 2012 Conference in Phoenix

  • A private reception/roundtable discussion at the conference with top industry experts

  • A stipend to cover conference travel and accommodation costs 

Students may participate individually or within a team of up to five members. There is no fee to enter.

For more information, please visit