The Daylighting Difference: Happier, More Attentive Healthcare Providers

The high-responsibility, high-stress nature of healthcare work is widely-known for wearing on a worker’s mental and physical well-being. Long shifts in an environment with little sunlight leaves many healthcare workers feeling fatigued and lacking the focus to properly attend to their patients. These conditions have caused widespread burnout among doctors and nurses and have made it difficult for administration to recruit and retain workers willing to tolerate these demands. Over time, however, research has found that adding daylight to hospitals and clinics can energize staff, improve patient-provider relationships, reduce human error, and even enhance overall job satisfaction.

GREATER SATISFACTION – Studies show that the majority of healthcare workers favor natural light over artificial lighting and have linked greater amounts of sunlight to greater levels of job satisfaction. In one study, 43% of healthcare staff found an increase in natural light has a VERY positive impact on their work life, and an additional 27% rated it as having a positive impact [1]. Another study found that access to daylight, along with a view of the outdoors, significantly reduced staff stress and resulted in fewer health-related complaints among workers [2]. By integrating translucent panel systems with fixed or operable windows, hospitals can offer views while still restricting solar heat gain.

IMPROVED INTERACTIONS – Sunlight brings countless benefits to an individual’s health by helping regulate their mood, sleep-wake cycle, Vitamin D production, and more; and when a worker feels happy and healthy, that positive energy is often reflected in their daily interactions with patients and other staff members. This idea was confirmed by a Cornell study that found nurses who receive more sunlight during the work day have lower blood pressure, communicate more frequently with colleagues, and provide better care to their patients.

FEWER ERRORS – Healthcare workers have a lot of responsibilities – administering medications, charting, filling prescriptions, and submitting orders – that can be done incorrectly without an alert mind and adequate lighting. Errors made by healthcare workers are not only costly, they can also be consequential to a patient’s health. But by caring for their workers, hospital systems can also care for their patients by reducing the risk for error. Studies show that healthcare workers in daylit environments are more rested, attentive, and less likely to make mistakes on the job [3]. Natural light has also been shown to improve work performance by making it easier for workers to read and enter paperwork – reducing eye strain by 51%, headaches by 63%, and drowsiness by 56% [4]. And unlike standard glass systems with which glare is a common annoyance, translucent panel systems diffused incoming daylight to illuminate the space in soft, even light.

Studies show, that while many hospital systems are reluctant to integrate daylighting due to initial cost of installation, the performance-related savings associated with improved staff retention, lower absenteeism, and fewer medical errors reduces operating costs by an estimated 3% [5]. This doesn’t include the additional savings from having a naturally lit environment with a lower energy consumption.

For more information on how Major can help you with your next healthcare project, contact our sales team at 888-759-2678 or