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Feb 29, 2020

In part of today’s episode Cheryl speaks with Rebecca Donner, IIDA, NCIDQ, Founder and Principal of Inner Design Studio. They discuss the rise of a new and unique challenge in the design community, stemming from HGTV’s popular shows like Fixer Uppers. As Rebecca shares, “The University’s drop-out rates have increased in the design community in the United States at an alarming rate. Interior design students are leaving their design programs around their second year, stating this is not what design looks like on television.” This and more on the changing face of healthcare design from this passionate 30-year healthcare design veteran. 

‘Show-Me State’ native Rebecca Donner made her way to Nashville to earn an interior design degree at O’More College of Design. After graduating and completing challenging internship work, she found her calling in commercial healthcare interior design work. In 1993 this led her to found an interior design firm that specializes in health care design. Inner Design Studio began with one client and one employee. Today the 12 person firm handles numerous projects a year. Nashville’s leading healthcare interior design firm, Inner Design Studio is a strong team of experienced designers who have completed more than 891 medical facilities throughout the country.

Rebecca has published articles in Healthcare Design Magazine, Medical Construction & Design Magazine, Floor Focus Magazine and Health Facilities Management Magazine.

In 2018, Rebecca was the recipient of the second annual International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Tennessee Chapter Legend Award.

Learn more about Rebecca Donner and Inner Design Studio by visiting Learn more about Women In Healthcare by visiting:

In part one of Cheryl’s conversation today with Rebecca Donner, you will learn:

  • Why have HGTV’s popular shows like Fixer Uppers created a new and unique challenge in the design community?
  • Why interior design students in the United States are dropping out of school at an alarming rate, and what to do about it.
  • What is the ACE high school mentor program?
  • Rebecca’s advice to interior design students who want to specialize in healthcare, but are afraid to do so.
  • How can design create positive distractions for kids in distress?
  • What are the treehouses at Lutheran’s Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana and how do they create an exceptional positive distraction for kids? How did Rebecca and her team come up with the idea?
  • How have materials played a key role in creating comfortable and nurturing healthcare environments and how has this changed over the years? 
  • How Rebeca and her team stay positive when working on oftentimes large and sometimes challenging projects.
  • What are patient boards in the patient room, how do they contribute to a heightened sense of calm among patients and families, and why are they becoming more popular?

Additional support for this podcast comes from our industry partners:

  • The Center For Health Design
  • The Nursing Institute for Healthcare Design

Learn more about how The Center for Health Design can support your firm by visiting:

Connect to a community interested in supporting clinician involvement in design and construction of the built environment by visiting The Nursing Institute for Healthcare Design at

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