Season 2 #12 Bringing Nursing Wisdom to Architectural Design and Planning

Nurses for Healthy Environments Podcast
Nurses for Healthy Environments Podcast
Season 2 #12 Bringing Nursing Wisdom to Architectural Design and Planning

A Talented Nurse Integrates Design, Function, and Flow

Anthony Mistretta is a registered nurse and healthcare executive with over fifteen years of experience in healthcare systems leading teams and running operations, most recently as Vice President, Chief Nursing & Operating Officer with Dignity Health. Anthony understands and has hands-on experience managing the competing priorities in healthcare related to patient experience, quality outcomes, staff and physician satisfaction, efficiency, and profitability.  His recent career transition into the design world has allowed him to bridge his expertise and experience to the built environment making a difference for a larger subset of patients, families and clinicians. 
At Perkins + Will, Anthony partners with his clients to develop forward-thinking strategies that support enhanced patient care, operational efficiencies, and care model innovation. He is frequently described as the “translator” between the clinical/operational teams and design teams to ensure the built environment meets the needs of patients, clinicians and staff.  His experience at Perkins + Will includes service line, campus and strategic facility master planning, lean process improvements and design, visioning, programming, planning, post occupancy evaluations, and strategic review of programs and service lines.  Anthony feels fortunate to be able to carry his belief in “do what’s right for the patient first” into the design and architecture world.


Beth Schenk


Elizabeth Schenk, PhD, MHI, RN-BC, FAAN is Providence-WSU Nurse Scientist and Sustainability Coordinator at Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana. In addition, she is assistant research professor in Nursing at Washington State University in Spokane. Dr. Schenk co-leads nursing research efforts at St. Pat’s, and also across Providence St. Joseph Health, working with nursing leaders at 50 hospitals.

Dr. Schenk leads efforts for environmental stewardship at St. Patrick, and has worked with hospitals across the health system to reduce environmental impacts for the past 25 years.   In her academic work, she developed the “Nurses Environmental Awareness Tool” which has been used in multiple states and several countries to assess awareness of the environmental impacts of hospital-based healthcare. She led the development of the CHANT: Climate, Health and Nursing Tool. She was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing as a Fellow in 2018. Dr. Schenk serves on the national board of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, and several local boards.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 thoughts on “Season 2 #12 Bringing Nursing Wisdom to Architectural Design and Planning

  • Ka Lor

    I’m very happy to have discovered this particular podcast. Thank you so much for posting this! I actually come from the opposite end—I first started in architecture school and switched to Nursing. My switch of majors was circumstantial, but my intent in Architecture Design was to build environments that help facilitate places of healing. I also wanted to be a LEED-certified architect who would design buildings that did not have as much of a significant carbon footprint.

    Before switching to Nursing, I never once thought that I could survive working in a hospital or healthcare facility. There was such a “stale,” feel to the environment that it felt very unwelcoming, or not as ideal. I was diagnosed with a benign tumor in my upper left arm—as a teenager—during my first surgery, and it was absolutely terrifying. I never enjoyed my hospital visits, and I am sad to say that I could not remember a nurse who made a positive impact on my life at the time. Due to this particular experience and other personal experiences growing up as a minority, I wanted to do better for the world.

    I’m glad that Anthony Mistretta was very frank about his experience of switching from Nursing and going into becoming a consultant at an Architecture Design firm. I can relate in so many ways about wanting to create a bigger impact on communities—thus switching to a public health focus. Amidst a turbulent political atmosphere, architecture design can mold itself into something that fits everyone’s needs. If there are areas of improvement, one can go back to fix it. That’s the beauty of architecture design.

    Architecture is a fluid practice, as well as Nursing. Even though both disciplines have their own respective sciences—both cater to human interaction and human needs. It is amazing to have Nurse Consultants who understand the nature of healthcare work—incorporating safety for employees, patients, residents, and families, as well as improved workflow leading to better efficacy. I was even more delighted to hear Minstretta stress how crucial it is that healthcare facilities should be designed more as places of “healing” instead of reminding patients of their illnesses. It was also very thoughtful of Mistretta to say that after designing and constructing healthcare facilities, there is objective data provided to healthcare facilities about their carbon footprint. It is even more amazing that they are prompt in correcting this particular issue, as well! Thank you very much for such an enriching conversation!

    • Beth Schenk Post author

      Thank you so much for your comments. I learned a lot talking with Anthony. I’m glad you are in nursing – your experience will be valuable if you ever have the chance to help address healing environment issues and/or environmental sustainability in healthcare. Thanks, Beth