Health clinic environments in Georgia elementary schools
Simpson, Susan Rogers
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Schools seem to be the logical place to serve the health needs of students, since children spend a majority of their time there. Design standards were not available for health clinics in Georgia elementary schools; therefore, this study examined key characteristics of an elementary school clinic in order to determine the importance of each design element. Eleven design classifications and 12 specific design elements were determined through a review of related literature. Characteristics included: components (rooms), space, and size; general design elements; location; accessibility; the waiting area; the nurse’s office; the treatment room; the isolation area; the restroom (toilet); security, storage, and safety elements; and furnishings/treatments. Specific design elements included: lighting; windows; integrating nature elements into design; promoting a sense of well-being for users; security and privacy/confidentiality elements; electrical/plumbing elements; doors and wayfinding (signage); walls and ceilings; acoustics; use of color; heating/ventilation/air conditioning; and flooring elements. This information was incorporated in a survey of 12 experts involved with designing, building, and managing school facilities and 104 school nurses. An item analysis was completed on each design statement. Descriptive statistics and ANOVAs were completed on characteristics and specific design elements. Statistical significance between the groups was found for design characteristics: components (rooms), space and size; the waiting area; the nurse’s office; and the treatment room. School nurses perceived these characteristics to be more important to clinic design than the advisory panel did. In addition, statistical significance between groups was found for these specific design elements: integrating nature elements; promoting a sense of well-being; security and privacy/confidentiality; and heating/ventilation/air conditioning. Again, school nurses perceived these specific design elements to be more important to clinic design than the advisory panel of architects, builders, consultants, and facility planners did. School nurses commented that the survey statements presented an ideal clinic design. The advisory panel commented that many of the survey statements were not cost effective. Establishing design guidelines for health clinics in Georgia elementary schools were recommended, and the guidelines should be written using the professional judgment of school nurses, representatives of users of the clinic, and the findings of this study.
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