Radial Nursing Units
Rochester Methodist Hospital constructed a constant-care research unit in 1957. The two-story facility was built west of the Colonial Hospital to test the pioneering radial -- or circular nursing unit -- design promoted by Harold Mickey, hospital administrator. The Special Observation Unit (or "Silo," as it came to be known) consisted of 12 patient rooms surrounding a central nursing station.
Its design and function were the basis of a three-year study conducted jointly by the hospital and Mayo Clinic to determine optimum methods of care for patients who required frequent observation and attention. Radial care units based on this design were incorporated into the 1966 Rochester Methodist Hospital building. The new building incorporated radial nursing unit design along with conventional double- and single-corridor units. In addition to studying alternative nursing unit designs, the new building enabled research of hospital systems and organization.
Research by 1969 established that the radial design produced better utilization of nursing staff time and was preferred by nursing staff over either of the two common linear designs. The radial design was subsequently adopted by hospitals nationwide.