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Work. 2009;33(2):211-27. doi: 10.3233/WOR-2009-0868.

Staff perceptions of work quality of a neonatal intensive care unit before and after transition from an open bay to a private room design.

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School of Kine-siology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


This study collected staff responses to an occupancy quality survey before, and 6 and 22 months after, St. Paul Children's Hospitals and Clinics (CHC) replaced an open bay (OB) with a private room (PR) neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) design. Staff interview responses and task activity observations also were collected. The goal was to assess how this change would influence staff perceptions and performance. As a result of the transition from the OB to the PR environment: (1) rankings of overall physical environment, patient care, job, technology, and off-the-job quality significantly improved; but (2) rankings of patient care team interaction quality significantly declined. Results for the 22-month PR survey indicate essentially no meaningful changes in rankings of occupancy quality from the 6-month survey, suggesting no consolidation of quality gains in the intervening 16-month period. Written comments pertaining to private room NICU design issues by survey respondents, targeting problems with unit operations, may explain this finding. Collectively, the findings suggest that NICU operational management was not effectively modified to deal with the new design, and that an OB to PR NICU transition requires a systems approach to macroergonomic challenges imposed by the new design.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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