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  1. Winner-Stoltz, Regina MSN, APRN, PPCNP-BC
  2. Lengerich, Alexander MS, EdS
  3. Hench, Anna Jeanine BSN, RN
  4. O'Malley, Janet ADN, RN
  5. Kjelland, Kimberly MSN, APRN, PPCNP-BC
  6. Teal, Melissa BSN, RNC-NIC


Background: Neonatal intensive care units have historically been constructed as open units or multiple-bed bays, but since the 1990s, the trend has been toward single family room (SFR) units. The SFR design has been found to promote family-centered care and to improve patient outcomes and safety. The impact of the SFR design NICU on staff, however, has been mixed.


Purpose: The purposes of this study were to compare staff nurse perceptions of their work environments in an open-pod versus an SFR NICU and to compare staff nurse perceptions of the impact of 2 NICU designs on the care they provide for patients/families.


Methods/Search Strategy: A prospective cohort study was conducted. Questionnaires were completed at 6 months premove and again at 3, 9, and 15 months postmove. A series of 1-way analyses of variance were conducted to compare each group in each of the 8 domains. Open-ended questions were evaluated using thematic analysis.


Findings/Results: The SFR design is favorable in relation to environmental quality and control of primary workspace, privacy and interruption, unit features supporting individual work, and unit features supporting teamwork; the open-pod design is preferable in relation to walking.


Implications for Practice: Incorporating design features that decrease staff isolation and walking and ensuring both patient and staff safety and security are important considerations.


Implications for Research: Further study is needed on unit design at a microlevel including headwall design and human milk mixing areas, as well as on workflow processes.