Elements of a Flipped Clinic, Part II: Nourishing

By Flip the Clinic

This post is the second in a series focusing on the five elements of a Flipped Clinic. To read a bit more about the background, plus our take on the first element, check out our first post here

A Flipped Clinic is one that’s nourishing. What do we mean by that? It’s an environment where patients and clinicians feel welcomed and supported both by the clinic’s design and by the entire clinic community.

We’ve heard over and over again about how unpleasant the clinical experience can be, both for patients and clinicians. Everyone is stressed out, and no one feels like they’re operating at their best. The clinic can feel cold, unwelcoming, and transactional, instead of warm, helpful, and enriching—all the things an ideal health care facility and community should be. We’re not advocating for the clinic to transform into some sort of health spa. What the Flip the Clinic community has found is that there are a lot of small yet powerful ways to improve the environment and the community without having to revamp the whole clinic from the ground up.

In 1859, Florence Nightingale argued in Notes on Nursing that light, air, diet, and cleanliness could have a profound effect on a patient’s recovery. With all a modern hospital’s beeps and alarms, we can easily add silence to that list. Flip #19 explores a collection of ideas deployed in some recently revamped hospitals that improve the environment for the patient, including silencing ambient noise, getting rid of the waiting room, and moving clinician conversations out of common hallways and into private spaces, away from patients.

In Flip #75, a group from Minneapolis mapped out a system wherein patients receive a text message if the clinic is running behind. A simple text would allow patients to do something else with their time instead of wasting it in the waiting room. Furthermore, they’d have the knowledge to reschedule their appointment if it didn’t mesh with work or childcare schedules. That tiny text—giving patients a bit more control—could have a positive ripple effect within the clinic, too. With fewer people in the waiting room cranky about the delay, front desk staff can more office management and less complain management.

Just as giving patients a bit more information might improve the overall mood, encouraging a more nurturing environment for clinic staff would certainly boost moral. In Flip #49, a group from Austin designed a system where staff members would be rewarded by both colleagues and patients for outstanding work.

The ultimate goal is for patients to feel as if they’re entering a place of healing and compassion—one that is enriching and yes, nourishing—and for clinicians to feel supported and that the environment brings out the best in them. 

We’d love to know what you think! What other Flips could we use in the clinic and out of it to make health care a more nourishing environment? Stay tuned because we’ll be tackling joy next week.

As a reminder, here are the full 5 Elements of a Flipped Clinic


People are the heart of health care—and we’re more complex (and interesting!) than a diagnosis or a decision. Goals and values, interests and experiences are valued.


Patients and clinicians feel welcomed and supported both by the clinic’s design and by the entire clinic community.


Providers experience joy and passion in their work daily. Patients find delight in the health care encounter.


Communication is clear, information is accessible and useable, and in conversation, clinician and patient voices are given equal value.


It values the people and places outside the traditional clinic walls that play an important role in a person’s health.