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  1. Keys, Yolanda DHA, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, EDAC
  2. Stichler, Jaynelle F. DNSc, RN, NEA-BC, EDAC, FACHE, FAAN


Intensive care units (ICUs) exist to serve as a safe place for critically ill patients to receive care from skilled practitioners. In this qualitative study, ICU nurses shared their perspectives on elements that promote safety and security on their units. After obtaining institutional review board approval, participants participated in telephone interviews with a nurse researcher who has experience as a bedside ICU nurse. Five categories and 14 themes were identified and then confirmed using member checking. Results indicate that participants prefer to provide care in ICUs with no more than 12 to 14 beds and provide the following: visibility of patients and coworkers; more than 1 way to exit; and can be locked in case of emergency or threat. Nearly all respondents mentioned adequate staffing as the most important attribute of a safe, secure care environment for patients and families. More research is needed to identify design features that make the most impact on providing a safe, secure ICU environment.