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Marberry: Four recent surveys offer useful insights for healthcare facility design and construction

Image courtesy of Sara Marberry. Photo 129958813 | Opinion Survey © Artur Szczybylo | Dreamstime.com

By Sara Marberry  — If you want to know what people think, all you need to do is ask them, right?

Besides giving us details on what people think about specific topics, surveys offer many clues to issues and trends that are influencing healthcare facility design and construction. Here’s a sampling of results from some recent surveys that I think have useful insights.

1. National Sample Survey of U.S. Registered Nurses – 2022/2023

Health Resources and Services Administration and U.S. Census Bureau, released March 2024. A poll of almost 50,000 nurses. Some findings from the summary report:

  • Nursing is the nation’s largest health care profession, with a current estimate of 4.3 million actively licensed registered nurses (RNs), up from 400,000 since 2017.
  • While overall job satisfaction among RNs remains relatively high (80%), the degree of dissatisfaction grew from 11% in 2017 to almost 20% in 2021. Job satisfaction declined the most among hospital-based RNs.
  • If labor force patterns remain the same as today, the demand for RNs in 2036 will exceed supply by 9%, resulting in a shortage of 337,970 full-time equivalent (FTE) RNs.

Nothing surprising here, but reinforces the need to design physical workplaces that are less stressful and more supportive of staff wants and needs.

Access the survey results>>>

2. Climate and Health Care Workforce Survey – 2023

Commonwealth Fund, released January 2024. A national survey of 1,000 U.S. clinicians. Some highlights from the issue brief summary:

  • About four in five clinicians surveyed believe that it’s important for their hospital to address climate change and that doing so is aligned with their organization’s mission.
  • About six in 10 clinicians indicated a prospective employer’s policies and actions on climate change would impact their decision to apply for a job.
  • Three in four surveyed clinicians feel it’s important that they themselves work to reduce their environmental impact, both at work and at home.

Who knew addressing climate change could help attract and retain employees? That’s good news for sustainable design. Hospital leaders, are you paying attention?

Access the survey results>>>

3. Hospital Construction Survey – 2024

American Society of Healthcare Executives/Health Facilities Management, released March 2024. Survey of 8,801 hospital and health system executives and third-party architecture, engineering, and construction professionals. Findings reported by HFM magazine include:

  • Nearly half of healthcare respondents have seen construction cost increases and delays on 76% to 100% of their recent projects.
  • More than half reported decreases in planned construction projects in the next three years.
  • More organizations are building ambulatory facilities — an increase from 7% in the 2023 survey to 12% in 2024 for “currently under construction.”

Not much good news in this survey. Although construction projects have increased slightly since the pandemic, high inflation, low skilled labor availability, and supply chain issues continue to dog healthcare construction. This too shall pass.

Access a summary of the survey results>>>

4. Top Issues Confronting Hospitals Survey – 2023

American College of Healthcare Executives, released January 2024. A poll of 1,285 community hospital CEOs. Top three issues are:

  1. Workforce challenges, including personnel shortages, burnout, and managing remote staff.
  2. Financial challenges, including increasing staff costs, reducing operating costs, and inadequate funding for capital improvements.
  3. Behavioral health/mental addiction issues, including lack of appropriate facilities/programs, lack of funding, and insufficient reimbursement.

Knowing what keeps a hospital CEO up at night is very useful if you’re on the facility planning and design team for their organization. Besides reducing operating costs, you can now make the case that sustainable design will help attract and retain staff.

Access a summary of the survey results>>>

See also: “Marberry: Tackling hospital workforce challenges through operational and facility design strategieson The McMorrow Reports Healthcare channel as well as more insights on Sara Marberry’s Blog.