Michelle Ossmann is a nurse practitioner (NP) who’s hoping to design a better way of performing her profession. Ossmann is a Ph.D. student in Architecture, Culture and Behavior at Georgia Tech.
Ossmann completed her bachelor’s in nursing at Emory University School of Nursing in 1998, and went to work at Grady Memorial Hospital’s emergency room. Although she enjoyed the work, she wanted to be a nurse practitioner and began graduate school at Emory in 1999. She completed the Adult/Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program in 2001.
During that time, Ossmann worked as an ER nurse at both Grady and Emory-Crawford Long hospitals. Her clinical rotation in graduate school was in neuro critical care, and she was hired upon receipt of her license. Ossmann has worked as an acute care NP in the Neuro Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Emory Hospital since 2001.
Her desire to do more was fed in the summer of 2005 when she met College of Architecture professor Craig Zimring. Zimring was brought in by Dr. Owen Samuels, Emory's medical director of neuro-intensive care, to help with the design of Emory’s new ICU project.
“Although my work as an acute care NP was certainly challenging, I longed for greater creativity and new knowledge,” said Ossmann.
As she became more involved with this project, she realized that the clinicians didn't speak the same language as the designers they were working with. It occurred to her that the direction she was looking for was before her in the new ICU project.
“I wanted to bridge the gap between clinicians and architects,” said Ossmann. “I am able to look at the design from both perspectives. I can show the architects what our work routines and habits are and explain what our needs are as clinicians. Then I can turn around and look at how a design might help us as clinicians do our jobs more efficiently.”
Ossmann is pursuing her newfound passion as a Ph.D. student in the College of Architecture at Georgia Tech, while continuing to work actively as a nurse practitioner at Emory Hospital once a month.
“My research work with Dr. Zimring is extremely exciting,” said Ossmann. “Our research primarily deals with evidence-based design. This type of research can help hospitals reduce errors, create a better atmosphere for both patients and hospital staff, and better serve the community.”