Improving Student Commitment to Healthcare-Related Design Practice by Improving the Studio Learning Experience

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Abstract

Objective:

This case study explores the influence of the healthcare design studio experience on students’ short-term professional goals as measured through rates of healthcare-related certification and internship/employment.

Background:

The value and relevance of interior design is evident in the healthcare design sector. However, interior design students may not perceive this value if it is not communicated through their design education. Students’ experience in the design studio plays a crucial role in determining career choices, and students may be more committed to career goals when there is clear connection between major coursework and professional practice.

Method:

The authors compared healthcare-related certification and internship/employment levels between two student cohorts in a capstone undergraduate interior design healthcare design studio course. The first cohort was led by the existing curriculum. The second cohort was led by the revised curriculum that specifically aimed at encouraging students to commit to healthcare-related design practice.

Results:

When measured at 3 months from graduation, the second cohort, led by the revised curriculum, saw a 30% increase in Evidence-based Design Accreditation and Certification exam pass rates and a 40% increase in healthcare-related internship/employment.

Conclusion:

The challenge of interior design education is to instill in emerging professionals not only professional competence but also those professional attitudes that will make them better prepared to design spaces that improve quality of life, particularly in healthcare environments. The results exceeded the project goals, and so this could be considered a promising practice for courses focused on healthcare design education.

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