The difference

Aerial photo: Santa Barbara, California

Aerial photo: Santa Barbara, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Inspired by a return to Santa Barbara today, where the wealthy retired visit their parents.
The difference between the wealthy (1%) and the rest of us (99%) is the wealthy live longer because they can afford the best in health care, and the wealthy are surrounded by beauty because they can afford to live in beautiful areas and surround themselves with beautiful art and objects.

Smaller nurses

Mission Santa Barbara, known as "the Quee...

Mission Santa Barbara, known as "the Queen of the Missions," was founded in 1786. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Continuing my conversation with the nurse who still works at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, she complained about the reduced size of the nursing stations in the remodeled wards. I jokingly said that the nurses needed to be smaller. Then I gave the situation more serious thought. Foreign-born nurse are usually smaller than American nurses because of diet. Beyond that, I think that smaller nursing stations indicate management’s future intentions. Patients will be increasingly monitored remotely with one employee, not necessarily a nurse, assigned to watch the monitors. Then it will be possible for each nurse to be assigned more patients, reducing the number of nurses needed. Staffing levels have long been a bone of contention in California with unions involved and propositions proposed for voters to decide.

Please see Usability


Patient Recognition Month Poster

Patient Recognition Month Poster (Photo credit: Army Medicine)

I was recently talking to a nurse friend who still works at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California where I was employed in x-ray before we moved to Utah. The old hospital was torn down and rebuilt in stages to meet California earthquake standards. She was lamenting the fact that the new hospital ward on which she works is not as easy to work on as it was before the rebuilding. I have noted too that the x-ray rooms in Utah had problems for the techs and the patients. Patient rooms had issues too in their design that made accessing a patient for care more difficult than it needed to be. Patient gurneys made connecting a patient to oxygen difficult because oxygen bottles were added as an afterthought instead of standing upright at the head of the gurney to make the controls easily accessible.

I gave thought to her complaints and my experiences and came up with the following suggestion to improve usability. Rather than design hospitals and other facilities from architect and administration input, I think that a portion of proposed facilities should be constructed as models that workers can test both as care givers and as role players portraying patients to test designs before they are constructed. As it is done now, people must fit themselves to the facility. It should be the other way around; facilities should fit themselves to the people who use them. Eventually standard designs would evolve that could be implemented nationally.