Make your unsightly exam room unbelievable
Nov 01, 2005
HOSPITAL DESIGN SUPPLEMENT
Do you have an exam room that compromises your dignity? Do clients gawk and children giggle when they step into Room Three? You can remodel this terror of a room without creating chaos. Just ask the team at Great Neck Veterinary Clinic, Virginia Beach, Va., winner of the 2005 Veterinary Economics Ugly Exam Room Contest, sponsored by Veterinary Economics, BDA Architecture, Shor-Line Cabinet Co., and InPro Corp. Great Neck Veterinary Clinic realized it had a problem—and fixed it.
Perhaps it was when Dr. Blair Jones found herself crawling under the exam table to get to other items in the room that she realized it was time for a change. Or it could've been she finally tired of explaining "This was here before I got here."
"It became the running joke," she says. Only under the laughter, staff members weren't smiling.The problem
The configuration also made it difficult to work with big patients. "I'd hit my head on the table when I worked with big dogs," says Dr. Jones. "It was embarrassing—and the room just didn't represent the level of care we provide."
The heart of the problem: The clinic's ugly exam room used to be a kitchen. This clearly explains the two refrigerators and the oven fan—all things that made the room overcrowded.
The exam room also had some serious cosmetic problems: the air-conditioner unit duct-taped in the window, bright green cabinets, golden-rod linoleum floor, and outdated wallpaper. Here are the steps the Great Neck team took to correct the problems.
Planning and progress
"Before we redid our room, we got together with our team and thought about elements we wanted to include and what we wanted the room to say about the hospital and the care we provide," says Dr. Jones.
A print of a cat by Dr. Jones' mother topped the list for the clinic's new room. "It's nice to incorporate such a personal element," says Dr. McHugh.
One way Great Neck Veterinary Clinic achieved that goal: They got everyone involved. "We let everyone participate in decisions," says Dr. McHugh. "The whole staff looked at samples for the cabinet and floor-tile colors. We all talked about what we wanted to include—a lift table, for example to work with heavy dogs."