This week, more than 100 nurse researchers and health care design experts will gather in Greenville as Clemson University School of Nursing presents its inaugural International Nursing Conference for Excellence in Healthcare Design.

The conference will be held Aug. 14-17 at the Clemson University Nursing building in Greenville, South Carolina. Susan O’Hara, Clemson nursing professor and conference chair, said the goal of this conference is to bring nursing health care design researchers and architects together in one place to share their research and build future collaborations.

“The importance of this conference, one which makes it unique, is that it highlights the role of nursing as part of the planning with the design profession,” O’Hara said. “Furthermore, it is a multidisciplinary conference with architects and engineers participating and presenting: all of us driven to improve the environment of safe and quality care for patients, families and health care providers.”

As a nurse who has focused research and practice on health care architecture, O’Hara has made it her mission to help bring these two disciplines together.

“For over 20 years I have worked in health care design practice and academia. It has been my vision to be part of a conference that focused on both nursing and design,” O’Hara said.

This conference will explore both the internal and external dimensions of the phenomena of environment and how it affects health and well being.

The conference will feature four keynote speakers:

  • Lynn McDonald, Professor Emerita at the University of Gueloph, Ontario and the director of the 16-volume “Collected Works of Florence Nightingale,”
  • Jaynelle Stichler, Professor Emerita at San Diego State University, founding co-editor of HERD journal and former research consultant for the Center of Nursing Excellence at Sharp Healthcare,
  • Emily Patterson, an associate professor in the Division of Health Information Management and Systems at Ohio State University, and
  • Kirk Hamilton, the Julie & Craig Beale Endowed Professor of Health Facility Design at Texas A&M University.

In addition to the keynotes, there will be more than 40 presentations on various topics including: the impact of the physical healthcare environment on nurse fatigue and the impact of the layout of cardiovascular intensive care units on patient care.

The conference is one of the outcomes after the Clemson University Academy of Nursing Excellence in Design was founded in October of 2017. The Academy is a virtual think-tank that supports and helps scholars, researchers and professionals’ network across the country, with a mission to advance the art and science of nursing in design. School of Nursing Director Kathleen Valentine said the School of Nursing is working to promote healthcare design within the nursing field, and this conference is just one way to do so.

“The phenomena of the environment is of central interest to the discipline of nursing, guiding activities for research, education and practice,” Valentine said. “It includes both characteristics external to us, such as a setting or place, as well as a person’s internal environment, such as genetics and immune functioning.”

O’Hara said that this conference is just the beginning of a new paradigm for those nurses currently involved, as well as a new generation of researchers, practitioners and educators in all aspects of healthcare design.

Learn more about the conference here.