Exploring the spatial arrangement of patient rooms for minimum nurse travel in hospital nursing units in Korea

Jisun Lee, Hyunsoo Lee, Mardelle McCuskey Shepley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


With increasing demands on medical care services, one of the trends is the mixed patient room arrangement of single/double-bed and multi-bed rooms in a nursing unit on the same floor. This influences nurse-to-patient assignment and often causes an unbalanced workload and longer travel distances for nurses. The objective of this study was to investigate how floor configuration and room density influence nurse travel in the hospital's medical surgical units in Korea. This study presented a novel approach to measure nurse travel distances in eight existing nursing units. The agent-based simulation was conducted to model nurses' walking trails, and the distance of one nurse travel to assigned patient rooms was measured for each nurse. With revisions in the spatial arrangement of patient rooms, locating multi-bed rooms near the nurse station, symmetric room layout centering the nurse station, and planning both single/double-bed and multi-bed rooms on one side of corridors, nurse travel distance decreased more than 15%. This study contributed to the knowledge of agent-based simulation as an evaluation framework for spatial analysis. Apart from application to Korea, these results are particularly of interest in countries where private patient rooms are not commonly economically feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-725
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers of Architectural Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Archaeology
  • Urban Studies


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