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Faculty Scholars

Faculty Scholar Susan O’Hara, PhD, MPH, RN at  Clemson University, Clemson South Carolina

Susan O’Hara, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N.

Embedded Scholar
CUSHR, School of Nursing, Architecture
College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences

Contact: 526 Edwards Hall School of Nursing


Who is Dr. O’Hara?

Susan O’Hara is the CU Embedded Scholar working to conduct collaborative research between Clemson and GHS. Dr. O’Hara joined Clemson as a postdoctoral faculty in Nursing as well as Architecture. She is registered nurse and recently completed her PhD in Nursing. Her interests lie at the intersection of Architecture and Nursing. She is also President and Founder of O’Hara Healthcare Consultants, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in architectural healthcare programming design review for medical facilities and health care systems. Using simulation modeling, Susan works with hospital administrators and architects providing occupancy planning services, hospital wide planning, and detailed architectural programming services. She also acts as a clinical liaison between hospital administration, individual departments, architects, regulatory agencies such as the Department of Public Health, and simulation engineering firms.

For more information, see her Curriculum Vitae.

How Dr. O’Hara research is transforming health care

Patient quality and safety literature identifies the role of macrocognitive functions of sensemaking, deciding, detecting problems, re-planning, and coordinating (Patterson and Hoffman, 2012) in both inpatient and outpatient settings. However the effect of these settings on macrocognitive functions has not been described. This research is built on nursing (the environment of care), macrocognition and space syntax theory (visibility, connectivity, openness) in a systems view. This research provided support for linkage between situated macrocognitive interactions and space syntax constructs offering a way to improve how to adapt work processes in an intensive care unit, working in existing spaces or planning or redesigning new spaces, ultimately offering a way to provide better patient and family quality and safe care.

Health Research Expertise Keywords

Nursing, Health Care Built Environment, Architecture, Macrocognition, Ethnography, Pediatric Intensive Care Units, Space Syntax Constructs