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Natural Lighting Brightens Nurses' Outlook, Study Says

FRIDAY, Aug. 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to natural light boosts the health and happiness of nurses, which may improve patient safety and satisfaction, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that nurses whose workstations had natural light had lower blood pressure, communicated more often with their colleagues, laughed more, and were in a better mood when dealing with patients than those who were limited to artificial light.

The Cornell University findings were published recently in the journal Health Environments Research and Design.

Previous research has indicated that having access to natural light and views gives people mental and physical benefits. Providing nurses with natural light may help them combat sleepiness and stay alert during long shifts, said study author Rana Zadeh, an assistant professor of design and environmental analysis at Cornell.

"Nurses save lives and deal with complications every day. It can be a very intense and stressful work environment, which is why humor and a good mood are integral to the nursing profession," Zadeh said in a university news release.

"As a nurse, it's an art to keep your smile -- which helps ensure an excellent connection to patients. A smart and affordable way to bring positive mood -- and laughter -- into the workplace, is designing the right workspace for it," she added.

In areas where it's not possible to offer natural light, artificial light should be designed to provide natural light's beneficial effects on mood and work performance, Zadeh suggested.

More information

Mental Health America has more about workplace wellness.

SOURCE: Cornell University, news release, Aug. 4, 2014


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