Counting Footsteps Where It Matters Most

If you had to guess, what distance would you estimate a nurse walks in a 12 hour shift?

A) 1 mile

B) 2 miles

C) 3 miles

D) 4 miles

Well, before we get to the answer, know this:

Herman Miller Healthcare recognizes the importance of nurses’ roles in hospitals and clinics, and wanted to take a step in the right direction by addressing the issue of nurses walking too much. Herman Miller Healthcare sponsored a study that was conducted by the Center for Advanced Design Research & Evaluation (CADRE), Texas Health Research & Education, and HSK, Inc.  The purpose of the study was to better understand how physical design and operations processes interact to influence the total distance nurses walk.

The results revealed that nurses can travel upwards of 4 miles on a 12 hour shift. 4 miles! That’s 16 laps around a track field or the length of 70 football fields!


Over the course of the research, a new measure that realistically predicts nurse walking distance on hospital bed units was identified. While not perfect, this formula does offer architects, nurse leaders, and other hospital leadership an additional means of evaluating the way units, beds, and circulation options are laid out. This calculation is determined by the distance between destinations on the unit floor, multiplied by the number of time each distance is traveled, which results in a realistic prediction of how far nurses walk.

Intereum had the opportunity to work alongside an architect and design firm that addressed this same concept with a local clinic interested in enhancing the patient experience. To do so, they strategically gave exam rooms two doors; one being a traditional swing door and on the other side of the patient room, a DIRTT sliding barn door. By setting up the patient rooms in this manner, the clinic was able to keep the nurse and provider traffic separate from the patient’s pathways. And most importantly, this arrangement cut down the amount of foot traffic for nurses and providers while increasing the ease of communication between staff.

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Another approach to maximizing efficiency at this clinic was the installation of Herman Miller Compass. The 13″ footprint reserved valuable real estate for patients while keeping the essentials for the nurse and provider at their fingertips. In the end, the subtle efficiencies can have a great impact on building relationships with patients while tending to their needs.130208_Intereum_S_047

Lastly, some exciting news was announced about Nemschoff, a Herman Miller Company, and how they are the number one brand in the healthcare furniture market for the third year in a row by Contract magazine. We’re proud to be a dealer that offers furnishings that reflect commitment to people-centered design, high quality, craftsmanship, and products that withstand to the demands of high use environments. Nemschoff_FA_NDC_P_20120618_022_G_720_485

For more information about the Herman Miller Healthcare study, please click here.

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