I love talking to design students. In covering the design field over the past several years, I’ve had the chance to mingle with a number of smart, wildly creative types who couldn’t wait to get their hands on commercial environments and make them fabulous. They weren’t yet jaded by budget constraints, reality checks, and bottom-liners with no imagination.

These budding designers were aiming for careers in retail and hospitality; visions of Anthropologie, Whole Foods, Ritz-Carlton, and W Hotels glittered in their eyes. Yet the big design and architecture firms were worried, in the midst of the Great Recession, because layoffs depleted their stores of young talent and student numbers were dwindling. One retail design association put enormous effort into student outreach, to entice these up-and-comers to consider their specialty over all others, for fear of a looming brain drain and lack of fresh thinking.

Many in the healthcare field share that same concern. And it’s wonderful to see the efforts being made out there to teach young designers and architects—via hands-on opportunities—about the extraordinary benefits of a career in healthcare design. (Click here for one recent example.) I’m looking forward to getting to know the next generation in this industry, to see what it is that puts the stars in their eyes. I’m also interested in hearing about your reasons for pursuing this career, what keeps you going, and how you feel about the next wave of designers and architects. Are you concerned about the size of the coming talent pool? Did the economy’s dip trim the number of young designers in your firms, and where do things stand now? Comment here, join me on our LinkedIn page, or follow the conversation on Twitter (@HCD_KZeit).