As one of a handful of nurse-architects in the U.S., ZGF’s Tammy Felker uses her unique perspective to shape healthcare environments across the country. This month, the University of Virginia profiled Tammy — a UVA alumna — in its online publication UVA Today.
Tammy’s recent projects include Swedish Medical Center’s Ballard Medical Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) in Seattle, where the ZGF design team inherited two floors of an existing hospital and renovated it into a 22-bed space promoting recovery, mindfulness and safety.
She is increasingly interested in the role that design can play in supporting patient wellbeing, particularly in behavioral health spaces.
During her career, Felker has seen a dramatic shift in the way hospitals and healthcare systems approach behavioral health. Compared to all healthcare facility types, she says, the physical space within an in-patient behavioral-health unit, in particular, has the greatest potential to impact patient outcomes.
“Our physical environments are almost as much of a recovery tool as a ventilator,” Felker said. “If a physical space creates the experience of a healing environment, one that’s supportive and nurturing, it sends a strong message to patients, too: they have a beautiful space that’s safe, and people have invested money and time and placed value on them, creating a space where they can get better.”
You can learn more about Tammy’s work by watching the video below.