Lighting and Nurses at Medical–Surgical Units: Impact of Lighting Conditions on Nurses’ Performance and Satisfaction

Khatereh Hadi, Jennifer R. DuBose, Erica Ryherd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objective: This study investigates the perception of nurses about their lighting environment at medical–surgical hospital units in order to understand areas of improvement for lighting at these units. Background: The bulk of the research about nurses and lighting is focused on nighttime nursing, exploring the disruptions of nurses’ circadian rhythm and maintaining alertness. The understanding of nurses’ perception about lighting and its impact on nurses’ task performance and patient examination remains imprecise. Methods: This study used an online survey to ask a set of questions about lighting in medical–surgical units at five key locations including centralized nurse stations, decentralized nurse stations (DCNS), patient bedsides, patient bathrooms, and corridors from 393 survey participants. It then explored the survey findings in more depth through conducting focus groups with eight volunteer nurses. Results: Lighting conditions at patient besides and DCNSs were significantly less desirable for nurses compared to other locations. A significant relationship between nurses’ access to lighting controls (switches and dimmers) and satisfaction about the lighting environment was found. No significant relationship was observed between the individual characteristics of nurses (such as age, years of experience, etc.) and findings of this study. Conclusions: Thoughtful design of the lighting environment can improve nurses’ satisfaction and perception about their working environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-30
Number of pages14
JournalHealth Environments Research and Design Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2015


  • hospital design
  • lighting
  • medical–surgical unit
  • nurse performance
  • nurse satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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