Why Healthcare Design Matters
Recently the Healthcare Studio embarked upon the journey of developing a Vision Statement for our practice. While the vision statement in and of itself is powerful, the process of coming to the statement was most enlightening. During a long lunch break from an impending deadline, the studio watched a TED Talks with Simon Sinek TED Talks Simon Sinek, whose thesis is that people do not hire companies/firms for what they do, but for why they do it. An interesting and inspiring topic led to a group discussion on why each decided to enter the architectural profession. Many had to stop and reflect as to why this particular decision was made so long ago. There were two dominate themes that emerged -- the belief and knowledge that each individual had specific skills, talents and interests that made architecture a logical choice and secondly, the desire to have a positive impact on the world. The first has been aptly demonstrated as each member of the studio is a capable, dedicated, knowledgeable and talented professional. But for most of us, the shine of youthful idealism has been a bit tarnished under the burden of pressing deadlines and an economy that has taken a significant toll on our industry. It was inspiring to watch the discussion unfold and see the gleam return to the eyes of the studio members as they remembered the hope of a better world, fueled by the contributions of enthusiastic young architects in creating environments that enriched peoples' lives. Some asked themselves, "Is what I am doing now what I had hoped and if not, why not?" It is all too easy in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, looming deadlines, tight budgets, challenging building officials and increasing pressure to do more with less to forget why we do what we do. But let us not forget that design matters.
What gets you out of bed every morning (other than the alarm clock)? Why do you do what you do?
Not too very long ago I attended the dedication ceremony of a project that I had participated in for a major county hospital. One of the key components of the project was a new 24 bed Medical Intensive Care Unit. The Medical Director of the unit was speaking when his voice cracked and his eyes became misty. He said (and I am paraphrasing) "We take care of people during some of the worst days of their lives. Some patients spend their last hours here on earth with us and those hours are spent in a cramped, crowded ward with only a thin curtain between them and the next patient and family, also in a critical situation. Now we have this unit, with space and privacy for patients and families. We can preserve their dignity and privacy and provide the type of care that they deserve in a unit that meets the needs of the patients, families and caregivers.". Listening to the impassionate words of this physician with whom I had worked over the previous few years reinforced what I believe -- that what we do improves health and transforms lives. This is why I do what I do.