DesigNurse: nurses as designers

Karin Tetteroo

Karin wanted to develop a participatory design process that would enable nurses to improve their own working environment.

Currently, nurses on hospital wards have a high workload, which leads to lower job satisfaction, less time spent with patients and ultimately a lower quality of care. Over time, nurses’ administrative tasks have taken up more and more of their time, leaving them with only 30% of their time to spend with patients. There is a need for nurses to be involved in improving their own working environment to reduce their workload and increase job satisfaction.

Exploratory research was conducted to understand innovation in hospitals, the role of nurses in innovation, the barriers to nurse involvement and the interdependencies between different departments. This was discovered through expert and user interviews, a case study, observations and desk research. This led to a new, more specific design goal: to design a participatory design process for improving the working environment of nurses, in which all relevant stakeholders are included and actively involved.

The result was the design of ‘De Ontwerkgroep’, a multidisciplinary team with the aim of improving the working environment of nurses. This team consists of three roles, the design nurse, the design engineer and the design facilitator. These three roles work together in an improvement process where the DesigNurses collect improvement opportunities from the units. The team shares and prioritises the improvement opportunities. The whole team, even the DesigNurses, are involved in generating solutions.

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