Published in 2/2023 - Care


“Everything is Incredibly Beautiful” – Hospital Nova is a Well-Functioning Working Environment, Say Users

Essi Oikarinen

Kuva: Tuomas Uusheimo

We asked the staff members working at Hospital Nova of Central Finland how have they settled in the new facilities.

Jyrki Jalkanen, Director of Operative Services, Hospital Nova, Wellbeing Services County of Central Finland

Heljä Lundgrén-Laine, Chief Nursing Officer, Wellbeing Services County of Central Finland 

How have you acclimated to the new hospital? 

Lundgrén-Laine: The new hospital has made our work easier. There are two entrances for customers, and staff and logistics use their own traffic routes. All similar functions have been arranged close to each other in order to support one another.

Jalkanen: In connection with the move, we set ourselves the ambitious goal of taking a massive digital leap: adopting a new client and patient record system and enterprise resource planning system. These were not implemented in full, but we have made progress with introducing a paper-free hospital. Practically the entire medical device stock has also been replaced. There were quite a few hiccups while getting started, with bugs in the new fancy systems.

Lundgrén-Laine: It has been painful for many staff members to give up their own consulting rooms. On the other hand, multidisciplinary working in a shared space has brought people closer together in a new way. While there are some challenges related to quiet working, several matters can be resolved faster and more smoothly when we do not always need to reserve a room for meetings. Even the top executives sit in an open-plan office of about ten people.

What would you do better if you could go back in time? 

Jalkanen: A planning error was made in not dimensioning the ward wings in relation to the number of staff working there. We have ten-patient wards, and on a night shift, that is too many for one and not enough for two nurses. This takes up precious human resources when we are short on nurses to begin with.

What is best about Hospital Nova?

Jalkanen: We have some highly well-functioning working environments. The surgical department is the best, in my opinion, although I may be biased since I work in the operative services myself. The old hospital had three separate surgical units. This was difficult for the logistics of goods, and the working cultures in the three units were also a bit incompatible.

The new hospital also enables a one-way process for the patients. When patients arrive for an operation, for example, they check in at reception, are taken to surgery and then the recovery room, after which a different team deals with the patient discharge. We have been able to increase the proportion of day surgery significantly. The architecture of the building has helped us achieve this. 

Lundgrén-Laine: Most of the positive feedback has to do with the single-occupancy rooms on the wards. On the other hand, they have also brought along challenges having to do with resource allocation, as the night shift crews are small.

We have clean, healthy premises – aesthetically speaking, everything is incredibly beautiful. In all my career, I have never worked in such a beautiful hospital. The building does not look like a hospital and has managed to break the conventional hospital code in a very good way. ↙

More photos and drawings of the project →

Read the architects’ interview →