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Health care professionals are an integral part of the design process, and they should always have a voice in the design of their spaces. Design thinking is an effective tool that health care professionals may use to fully engage in the development of new solutions. 


Today’s nurses have a more sophisticated understanding of the design process. They are included in co-design initiatives and considered part of the design team. Many hospitals are employing design thinking, a creative problem solving approach, to enable all stakeholders to engage in the development of new solutions. This work is inclusive, with participation from clinical and non-clinical staff, patients, and families.

Design thinking is a logical precursor to the design and construction process, enabling design professionals to lead clients to discover the solutions that would work best for their operational goals. 

See Dr. Thompson’s study, Caring for Care Teams: Nurses Thriving and Innovating by Design. 

Contact us to request a design thinking session or design training for your health care team.


Patient-centered design supports the practice of patient-centered care by creating environmental conditions that facilitate healing. The following principles may be applied to health facility design to engage patients.

Respect Privacy

Facilitate Communication, Collaboration and Trust

Encourage Patient and Family Participation

Empower Patients

Promote Safety and Security

 Provide Accessible Accommodations

Create a Comfortable Environment

Facilitate Healing

Support Staff’s Goals through Design

Look for Design Opportunities to Respond to Unmet Needs

Learn to host design thinking sessions in your project’s pre-design phase.

Participants will identify the value of design thinking in the pre-design process as well as its advantages in capturing necessary cultural, workflow, and patient experience data to inform design and construction. In an interactive workshop with nurses and designers, participants will practice co-design with a common health care challenge.

Learning Objectives

Practice design thinking as a pre-design activity for facilities projects.Review the process of co-designing with patient and families to improve the environment of care.Identify the value of design thinking in understanding the lived experiences of staff, patients and families to inform the design process.Review an exemplar of design thinking with nurses.

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