Nurses conferring


A Day in the Life of a Magnet Nurse at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab



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At Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, there is no such thing as a typical nurse or a typical day.

Nurses are a critical part of our integrated care teams. Together with physicians, therapists, care managers and patient care technicians, you provide direct care to our patients. The patient rooms, nursing stations, HUB and staff commons are all part of our Innovation Centers — each distinguished by patient population diagnosis.

Stacking Diagram

Built in 2017, this bright, energizing state-of-the art hospital has won nearly 30 awards for design and architecture of a healthcare facility. Its unique features support safety, accuracy, efficiency and collaboration across all disciplines. Particularly relevant to nurses:

  • Five decentralized nursing stations bring you closer to your respective patients and eliminate back-and-forth trips to a central nursing station
  • Average patient-to-nurse ratio is 5-6 patients/nurse (day) and 8-9 patients/nurse (night). We also have the support of patient care technicians (PCTs), also known here as certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who are invaluable in lowering that nurse-to-patient ratio.
  • Easy access to rooms for nourishment, utilities, equipment and an enclosed medication room
  • All private, contemporary, light-filled, high-tech rooms, all of which feature large windows, sleeper couches and other amenities
  • Based on input from nurses and patients, we designed full bathrooms to be 30% larger than those in acute-care hospitals. This larger space facilitates wheelchair navigation and accommodates a shower cart for patients who must remain prone.
  • More than 70% of rooms have a ceiling lift — thereby promoting safe patient handling and reducing risk of staff injury.

Other Innovation Center Features


Staff Commons

All patient-care floors have a private staff room behind the scenes for taking a break, enjoying a meal or just recharging.


Each patient floor also has a HUB — a centrally located family room that serves many purposes. Patients and families can have meals together, participate in group therapy, play games or socialize. For our pediatric patients, HUBs also provide a convenient “study hall” for schoolwork.

Time-saving Technology

Nurses are provided with a handheld pocket cell phone to enable faster direct communication with patients and team members. These phones are just one of many smart devices and systems used throughout the hospital.

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