The Intentional Clinic Environment

February 4, 2013

ronan-11-of-22First Day at School, a post from rheumatologist Ronan Kavanagh, sheds some interesting light on our clinical environments.  He writes about a picture on the wall of his office.  How the picture arrived there and the reaction it draws from patients is worth thinking about and the subject of a bigger discussion.

This brief post resonates with me because the accessories in traditional American clinics are universally banal.  It’s always reassuring to see even small pieces of the clinical environment shaped with intent.  It’s these corners that reflect on us as providers and have the most interesting impact on patients.

The stories our spaces tell our patients and as well as the stories that our spaces draw from our patients deserve more attention.

{ 1 comment }

Thomas M. Lee February 5, 2013 at 2:28 am

I read and shared Dr. Kavanagh’s post when I first saw it over the weekend. It resonated with me because I’ve sat in my fair share of doctor’s offices, labs, ER’s and more. Some of those visits were routine, and some were of more concern (for me).

Through it all I’ve sat in sterile environments, flipping through issues of Golf and Yacht magazines, and starring at the French Impressionist prints on the walls. Seldom has there been anything that helped make me feel at ease, understood, or empowered.

Thankfully, I once had a physician who was also a “National Geographic” caliber nature photographer. His walls were adorned with dozens of amazing images from far off lands. I’d get lost in those photos, and before I knew it I was being called to an exam room.

The point is, those images offered me a unique diversion. And they also let me know that the doctor who I was entrusting with my care was an insightful person. Someone who had a passion for detail, and who looked beyond the obvious. And, like Dr. Kavanagh, he probably got slowed down a bit when I invariably would ask him about his forever changing photo show.

I actually looked forward to seeing him. I felt a connection.

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