The implications of high-quality staff break areas for nurses' health, performance, job satisfaction and retention

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The main study objective was to explore policy and design factors contributing to nurses' perception of how well-designed staff break areas can play an important beneficial role in relation to their overall job satisfaction, retention, performance and job-related health concerns.


Nurses are extremely valuable to the healthcare industry; however, today's nursing profession is challenged by nurses' fatigue and its negative consequences on nurses' health and the quality of patient care they provide.


Preliminary interviews were conducted with 10 nurses who worked as consultants in the healthcare design and construction industry. Based on findings, an online survey was developed and distributed to over 10 000 members of the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses in the United States.


The majority of nurses viewed high-quality break spaces as ‘fairly’ or ‘very’ important in terms of their potential to positively influence staff, patient and facility outcomes. Stress, rest breaks and the quality of break areas were some of the significant factors contributing to their perception.

Conclusion/implications for nursing management

The results of this empirical study support the conclusion that improvements in healthcare facility policies regarding staff breaks, as well as the creation of better-designed break areas, can be of significant benefit for nurses and the patients that they serve.

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