The rapid changing life pace and the increasing work challenges are constantly raising the demands placed on employees. This flags the importance of promoting employees’ health and wellbeing in their work environments to deal with challenges that organisations currently face towards building healthier workplaces that support the mental and physical health of working staff.
National Health Service (NHS) is one of the top organisations facing increasing challenges that affect staffs’ mental health and wellbeing. In addition to budget shortage and financial challenges, staff may now be paying the cost of an industrial design heritage, which values functionality and standardisation over humanitarian philanthropic design. This is reflected in the status of primary healthcare infrastructure, which is now providing mass NHS services within an inefficient spatial environment and relatively poor workplace quality.
Considering the important role that primary healthcare employees play in contemporary life, and realising the challenges they face, this research project develops a set of design recommendations that help with achieving a psychologically supportive working environment for primary healthcare staff in the UK. The research identifies fifteen psychologically supportive stimuli [PSDS] that affect mental health and wellbeing of staff in primary healthcare premises.
Adopting a realistic approach, this qualitative doctorate project employs Evidence-Based Design, as a methodological guiding framework. The research is composed of three main stages: The first phase is a primary formulation of hypostatical theory, which delineates and evaluates the primary potential environmental stimuli that affect users’ wellbeing, through the inductive analysis of extensive multi-disciplinary literature review of three main different disciplines, namely: psychology, medicine and architecture. This is followed by two stages of two separate rounds of interviews. The outcomes from the three stages are then contrasted for triangulation for further data validation. The data validation process employs two methods: the selective attention analysis and focus group (three focus groups were conducted).
The research defines the associated stressors related to the current physical work environment of primary healthcare in the UK and studies how staff recognise, perceive and describe their physical working environment. The research identifies fifteen PSDS: spatial layout, ergonomics, privacy, furniture, safety & infection control, nature, views, light, colours, artwork, finishing materials & textures, noises & sounds, shapes & patterns, natural ventilation & thermal comfort, and water. The concluded stimuli are categorised under two groups: functional and sensorial. Based on the analysis of the interviews, these stimuli are re-defined and explained from two schematic perspectives: the healing environment schemas and working environment schemas.
Finally, this research argues that good healthcare services cannot be managed without considering healthcare professionals’ wellness; factors such as job stress and fatigue are directly related to their physical environment, which may negatively affect both the staff’s physical and psychological wellbeing, consequently affecting the quality of healthcare service delivery. The research outcomes help decision-makers, designers, architects and developers to better understand and consider the needs of primary healthcare providers and guide the development of healthier primary care environments to support the staff wellbeing within their workplace.
|Date of Award||8 Nov 2020|
- Univerisity of Nottingham
|Supervisor||Jun Lu (Supervisor) & Timothy Heath (Supervisor)|
- Psychologically Supportive Design
- Evidence-Based Design
- Primary Healthcare
- Environmental Health
- Applied Psychology
- Cognitive Psychology.