Emergency Nurses’ Perceptions of Efficiency and Design: Examining ED Structure, Process, and Outcomes

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Due to increasing demands, it is imperative for emergency departments to improve efficiency, while providing safe and effective care. Efficient and quality healthcare delivery are impacted by interactions among the emergency department’s physical structure, processes, and outcomes. Examining the interrelationship between these three components is essential for assessing quality of care in the ED setting. Studies simultaneously investigating all three aspects of this model are rare.


To study examined emergency nurses’ perceptions of efficiency and satisfaction with the design of a newly constructed academic emergency department through analysis of these three assessment factors.


Data were collected using observational techniques, physical measurements of walking, and staff questionnaires. Correlation analysis was employed to investigate the relationships among specific structure, process, and outcome factors. Hierarchical linear regression was conducted to understand which structure and process variables in particular were related to the dependent variable, perceptions of efficiency and staff satisfaction with design.


Outcomes revealed that all of the structure and process factors examined in this emergency department including unit configuration, technology, lighting, visibility, patient room layout, storage, walkability, staff stress, data access, and teamwork were significantly associated with perceptions of efficiency and staff satisfaction with design.


The findings suggest that the structure of the built environment can shape healthcare processes occurring within it and ultimately improve the delivery of efficient care, thus increasing both patient and staff satisfaction. As such, the designed environment has a critical impact on enhancing performance, productivity, and staff satisfaction.

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