Home E-Weekly August 12, 2014

The Impact of Illumination

Published: August 11, 2014

You've heard the expression, "Many hands make light work." But consider this: Light makes many hands work better.

Exposure to natural light is known to have positive physiological and psychological effects. According to researchers at Cornell University, nurses who have access to a view outside report lower blood pressure, more productive communication and more laughter than nurses who spend their entire shifts under artificial light.

As a result, the researchers note, natural light's ability to modulate nurses' health, mood and alertness could also improve the patient care they deliver, not to mention the patient and staff safety in their hands.

Their study, "The Impact of Windows and Daylight on Acute-Care Nurses' Physiological, Psychological, and Behavioral Health," which appears in the journal Health Environments Research and Design, recommends incorporating daylight into clinical workspaces.

If it's not possible to install that skylight over the nurses' station, though, they suggest varying the spectrum and intensity of electric lighting for optimal effects on work performance.

David Bernard

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