Nursing stations

A central nursing station may be sited in the middle or at one end of an open ward. It is important that the nursing station allows direct visualization of individual patient beds. Hence bed dividers should not be excessively high and room partitions should have windows. Visualization of beds out of the line of direct vision or in single rooms can be achieved by video monitors. Large ICUs will probably be better served by having a nursing station or substation for every cluster of eight to twelve beds. Since critical care nursing is at the bedside, monitoring at a central nursing station is of less relevance except in a coronary care unit. In recent years, the amount of monitoring equipment at an ICU nursing station has been scaled down considerably. Nevertheless, the nursing station should be adequate to house patient and video monitors, telephones, intercoms, computer terminals, a printer, patient records, stationery, and a specimens refrigerator. The nursing station should be designed for necessary staff functions, such as charting, form-filling, tracking personnel, and hand-overs. Comfortable seats, good task lighting, and provision of a clock and calendar are essential. If the ICU secretary or ward clerk is to be sited at the nursing station, space has to be apportioned accordingly.

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