How might we increase the resilience and reduce burnout of nurses by changing their work practices?

Nurses work in complex and demanding environments. HopeLab and Dignity Health partnered to identify opportunities to reduce stress and grow providers’ engagement and energy. Over the course of six months, HopeLab collaborated with nurses to generate ideas to promote resilience in their work practices.

HopeLab’s work commenced by shadowing and interviewing nurses to understand their work environment and their lived experience. We used behavioral science research to understand how the work environment contributes to both resilience and burnout.  Floor nurse and nursing leadership developed and prioritized intervention ideas. This human-centered design process put the lived experience of nurses and the interests of stakeholders at the center of the innovation process to identify solutions to address nursing burnout including:

Unit-based Digital Forum: an online, secure communication channel providing a safe space for nurses to discuss topics, raise questions, provide feedback, and develop ideas for solutions.

Debriefing Codes Card: a facilitation guide for hospital staff to lead their colleagues through a debrief after a code aimed at increasing clinical improvements and supporting staff emotional well-being.

Weather Report of the hospital: a quick snapshot of important data about the hospital and hospital floors – from number of patients waiting in the ER to the number of nurses, patients, and sick calls on each floor—to support nurses in prioritizing their time and expand their identity to encompass the whole hospital.


"This was an energizing process for the nurses. We heard that it is difficult to stay positive in their daily work. The storytelling from the nurses was valuable itself. "

Elise Dempsey
Chief Nursing Informatics Officer & VP of Nursing Research

"For me understanding what keeps the nurses practicing with passion and heart is so important to our success now and into the future. Our shared vision for how staff stay engaged and energized by their work through a greater sense of purpose and empowerment is critical to the profession of nursing."

Page West, Chief Nurse Executive for Dignity Health

"I think one of the biggest things in nursing is that they teach you to have compassion for the patient, tend to the patient's needs, and there's always this focus of doing everything you can for them, but there's a lot that's not recognized for the nurses themselves."

Nurse Participant
Dignity Health