Hospital signage

You’ll find that some of my new blog posts are serious, and some are more light-hearted. They won’t be chronological, and they might well appear random. But what they represent are some of the thoughts and observations that struck me during the month.

When Charlotte’s waters broke, we knew it wasn’t great news. She was only 24 weeks’ pregnant, and we knew that our baby, our Tilly, would be unlikely to survive such an early labour.

Our local hospital, the West Cumberland in Whitehaven, quickly and sensibly transferred us to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, where our consultant is based. This is where we spent the best-part (best couldn’t be a less suitable word) of the next two weeks.

There are a few things worth knowing about the RVI:

1) It’s a very good hospital, and it has a specialist fetal/foetal medicine department, which is one of the best in the country

2) It’s a very large hospital with a dedicated maternity wing. This ward is quite some distance from both the main entrance and the multi-storey car park – i.e. anywhere I’d ever be coming from!

As a result of 2), my step count each day we were in the hospital tended to be impressive. I became a dab hand at knowing the quirks of the hospital and its navigation. These include things like wings only being connected on certain levels, needing to find a hidden staircase, and others.

Walking these routes meant I also had lots of time to take note of the signage. As you’d expect in a busy hospital – it needs to be clear and unambiguous. By and large they achieve this through consistent design, typefaces and colours (blue for the Leazes/maternity wing, black on yellow for the eye hospital, and so on).

I say by and large, because I spent quite a considerable amount of time pondering why the typeface on the signage is almost always Arial/Helvetica or similar, barring a few signs near to A and E which use the London Underground font.

On a similar note, the spelling of fetal occasionally had an added o.

As I say, walking the hospital each day gave me a lot of time to think!

Published by Ian Curwen

Communications professional and a bit of a foodie that wants to travel more. Sharing my observations on life.

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