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Ideas for a New Unit

I am looking for ideas that we could incorperate into our unit as we design a new unit. They are wanting us the nurses to supply some ideas of things we would like to see. I would like to hears from all of you things that you think work really weel and or things that absolutley do not work in order to avoid. All suggestions appreciated, Thanks Larry

Hey everybody I am sure some of you work CCU please give me a hand here


Has 30 years experience. Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB.

hello, larry.

how big will your unit be? what is your budget like for the purchase of other needed equipment/instruments/etc.?

elaborate on what you presently have.

I am the charge nurs in a ccu that is currently 24 beds but they are going to build a new unit and increase to 36 beds. The budget and expense are not my concern I am just trying to get ideas so we can submit in the planning stages things we want. I already have many but I just thought some of you could offer things you have seen that work or things that definately don't work etc just so we can get some ideas.

Thanks for your reply

ps hey mods why is this thread not showing up in my subscribed threads? Just curious Thanks


Specializes in SICU-MICU,Radiology,ER.

Chest high outlets and plug-ins (no having to crawl around to plug in beds or vents, or get suction running)

Chest high electric outlets throughout unit and walkways.

Self propeled beds that sit the pt all the way up and allow them to stand. Many of these have the foot that converts to a tray for monitors etc

For those units that both sexes share a restroom (dont laugh), a toilet with stall and standing urinal for the guys,

Several large sinks for family (and staff) to wash hands in (can we say nosocomial infections).

Adult sized med carts (not three feet tall).

Med carts and supply carts in pt room.

Nurse lounge with windows to outside (saw this in two ICUs, was fantastic).

Seperate place for RNs to do chart work etc away from other specialties and MDs (saw this in an ER that worked well, maybe not for ccu).

Large elevated basin in pt rooms for disposing of fluids instead of small toilet. Should have large hook perhaps mounted on wall for CRRT bags etc. and be pedal operated.

Good procedure lights in pt room as well as dimmers for regular lighting. Charting light as well if PC in pt room.

Phones in room should have different ring tone that doesnt disturb pts but easily recognized by staff.

I think square or round units with central nurse station work best (everybody can see and help everybody) rather than the new units that go around a corner etc. Someone always gets stuck off by themselves.

Wide automated door and wide walkways (plan for the future, only more equiment will have to be transported). Consider a door that can be futured for locking (ie locked unit).

Oh, and a good foot heavy duty foot massager for the nurses on break...



Some of these I had but there are a few I will definately put in the mix. I am Charge for CCU and have been asked by my manager to be the champion of this project, finding out what everybody would like and dislike in the new unit. I have several good people making suggestions but I figure more is better I might pick up something I would have missed otherwise.

I appreciate your input

i see you got our private message


Specializes in SICU-MICU,Radiology,ER.

i see you got our private message



Has 30 years experience. Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB.

i see you got our private message


apparently somone at work was able to get on using my name and sent a private message to me from me not sure what is going on there either. I was not online last night at 1217 am I was in bed so then I guess they posted I got the message? I don't know what they are doing, I may have accidentally forgotten to unclick the remember me on this computer box. I guess they are just having some fun with me they sent a private message saying they think my picture is hot LOL

Definitely electrical outlets in the hall. Never know when you are going to need to adjust a bed..........not sure what type that you are using, if they can be used without electricity.

Sinks within reach of the bed, not on the other side of the room.

Enough outlets for suction at the head of the bed. I have actually seen rooms where there were not enough, and it wasn't a pretty site. Things like this can easily get overlooked.

Are you going to be using computerized charting? If so, what type of system? Are you using laptops on a cart? or fixed in a room?

I in fact rec'd an email today that we are going to be going to computerized charting in the future, not sure exactly when but we now definatley need to integrate that into the room plan. Epic is the company and that is really all I know at this time.

Space!!! You need rooms big enough that you can fit your vent, IABP,swan cart and a stat cart in at one time. I get so annoyed when you can barely get around your equipment to defib someone. I like the idea of having stocked cupboards in the room with enough linen for a clean up, syringes, extra suction supplies,IV tubing etc on hand. Also a drawer with a universal lock that has basic resusc drugs in easy reach so you can start pushing drugs while someone else gets the cart.The CCU I work in doesn't have the space for these but MICU/SICU was recently remodeled and when I work up there it is so nice. So organized. They have a dirty room between each room with a hopper with a chest high splash shield, too. Good luck with your new unit!!! It is awesome that they are letting the nurses have input!!!


The Institute of Medice published a report in 04 or 05 called Keeping Patients Safe Transforming the Work Enviroment of Nurses. This is an AWESOME report that makes alot of sense. Your management must have access to it, there is a whole section on how nursing units should and should not be designed. They call the linear units the race tracks because nurses then spent so much time racing around to get and do things. If you can get even the section you need of this report it will save alot of time and effort....why reinvent the wheel?

1. Central Media unit connected to patient bedside TVs for showing educational videos/DVD's;

2. Aromatherapy for each room;

3. Plumming for dialysis machines in at least 2 single rooms;

4. External windows in each patient room - makes a great psychological improvement for sick patients;

5. Semi-automatic doors for entry to CCU - for trolleys/wheelchair access;

6. Notice board on wall at foot of each bed for reminder messages about breathing and mobility exercises;

7. Wall clock clearly visible to each patient;

8. Hanging closet for each patient's bed unit;

9. Nurse designed storage room/facility in unit;

10. Nurse designed drug storage unit;

11. Wide corridors - wide enough for 2 trolleys to pass;

12. CCU nurse input into patient call bell/alarm systems;

13. Lighting that is designed to meet day and night staff needs;

14. Private counselling room within CCU for use for staff/family meetings, staff meetings/handover, staff in-service - equipped with fridge, hand-basin, white board, mirror, table and chairs, storage cupboard, individual mail shelves for staff, book shelf for reference books, manuals, etc.

15. Staff toilet within easy access in or near CCU;

16. Male and female locker/shower change rooms near CCU;

17. Air tube specimen delivery system to Laboratory.

Hope some of these are useful. Our CCU is 6 months old. We do not have all of the above. Our building had very limited nursing input.

One note: you can specify all and sundry that you want. The architects will just ignore it. You must have a direct input into the project development phase as well as the building phase - and fight like hell for every single thing that you want!!

Redesign and design committees with staff RN members are in our contract and timelines as to when we are involved. It has helped in having our voices heard at the right time.

I don't work in CCU, but I work in NICU. One thing that I saw another NICU do is have hidden trash cans and hampers. They were built into the wall and they would pull out. I thought that was a great idea. It would be nice if each room had there own trash can and hamper built into the wall.

This might be a little late but here are some of my suggestion.

1. The designers should sit down with the staff that actually work in the unit and talk about the work flow in the rooms.

2. Sliding doors to the room that are the entire width of the room and open completely..

3. Have a lockable med cabinet and supply cabinet on the wall with a an ample sized work counter with sink right when you walk into the room.

4. Have a light switches to all lighting on the wall right when you walk into the room and a second set located on the opposite side of the bed.

5. Minimum of 2 suction, 2 O2 and 2 suction outlets on each side of bed.

6. Plugs - minimum 4 outlets each side of the head of the bed and 2 on each wall in the room.

7. Think of a patient with every piece of life sustaining equipment connected to them and were it would be in the room, then give yourself at least 4ft of walking room directly around the bed.

canoehead, BSN, RN

Has 30 years experience. Specializes in ER.

Sinks in the hall for handwashing.

A built in daybed for family to lie down on, but not one that can be moved. Allow them to be in the room, but not in the way of staff treatments.

Many of you have great ideas - a few more that come to mind:

-Make sure they don't put carpet in the hallways!! Seems obvious, but to them, it reduces noise. To us - it's a back killer trying to push beds (esp those with our larger patients!)

-Make sure the rooms are large enough, not only for all of the equipment that the patient will need and for nurses to operate, but so there is an area families can be that is out of the way (have seen both rooms that are wider or longer to accomodate this - it helps!)

-Plenty of outlets! Think 2 for bed, 1 for each IV pump, 1-2 for vents/bipap, compression stockings, bair hugger/cooling blanket, the monitor, feeding pump (if different from iv pump), etc.

-Plenty of suction, especially with the subglottic ETT suctions becoming more popular - 5-6 per room would be ideal!

-Private bathrooms for each room - patient satisfaction and reduces possiblity of cross-contamination from sharing with the neighbor.

-Think of everything you want handy or need in the room and make sure it is encorporated and not cramped - sinks, supply carts, linen storage, med drawers/cabinets, charting areas, counterspace for supplies, room for recliner/chair for the more mobile patients, phones, .......

-One other thing - for the locks on the med cabinets/drawers - keys are cumbersome, get lost, and are hard to use without contaminating in isolation rooms. Push button combinations that self lock when close are best.

Good luck!

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