Ideal Ward Round

11. Environment

It's worth considering the environment in which ward rounds take place. Ideally the space would be relaxed and informal. In busy settings any space might be used, however if ward rounds are held regularly, wards might consider having a designated space that can be made more welcoming for patients and visitors.

Ultimately, thinking about how the physical environment could impact on a person who is feeling anxious or intimidated is really important. When asked about the opinions on the spaces in which ward rounds occurred, patients often said ‘it was the little things’ that made the difference.

Select the icons below to explore some aspects of the physical environment that could make a difference.

Appearance of a room

  • Just making the room look and feel pleasant can help.
  • Are there dirty mugs lying around?
  • Does the room feel too much like a clinical space?

Size of the room

  • Is the room appropriate for the number of people attending?


  • What doesn’t need to be in the room? Does having lots of things in the room make it feel like the room should be used for something else i.e. ‘you’re not supposed to be here’.
  • Alternatively does the room feel too stark?


  • If there is a table and it’s stuck in the room how will it be used.
  • Try not to set it up as a job interview, as much as possible the room needs to remain informal.

Seating arrangements

  • Are all the staff sitting together? Where is the consultant positioned? Does the layout of the room or seating arrangement, exaggerate a power imbalance in relationships? What could you do to change this?
  • Is the patient seated in a way that could be intimidating or suggest a power imbalance (e.g. on a chair separated from the other attendees)


  • Does the room feel private or could people walk in by accident? Could you put up a sign on the door?
  • If there are windows in the room, what would be the best position for the patient to avoid feeling as if they’re in a ‘goldfish bowl’

Room temperature

  • This might mean checking the room an hour before to get the room to a comfortable temperature.


  • In all the research we did this constantly came up; the benefit that a cup of tea would make to how you, a patient or carer feels in ward rounds.