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The Boost

Increasing nurse job satisfaction: Shaping future experiences in a post-merger neonatal intensive care department by using the Design Thinking methodology

Author: Tibbe Titulaer (2019)

Supervisory team: Marijke Melles (mentor), Arnold Vermeeren (graduation committee)  

Partners: Amsterdam UMC, TU Delft

Amsterdam’s academic hospitals (VUmc & AMC) officially merged into the Amsterdam UMC in 2018, including their two neonatal Intensive care units (NICU).

Literature research showed that mergers are often associated with higher job dissatisfaction and higher staff turnover rates (Martin, 2008) and job satisfaction is globally considered to have a pivotal role in nurse turnover and the quality of care for patients (Lu, 2019). This project aims to “improve the NICU nursing staff’s feeling of being rewarded for work related efforts in order to increase their overall job satisfaction”. 

A NICU nurse profile of ten work values is established by design research. These values are compared to the organizations’ core values and the work cultures are explored, showing the importance of feeling rewarded. To define and shape future NICU nurse experiences, a future employee experience map is made, including promising solutions.


The Boost

The ‘Boost’ is a room, which aims at improving employees’ wellbeing by facilitating a short personal moment away from all stimuli during a workday. A multi-sensory experience is created through a digitally controlled environment, a wellness corner with healthy snacks, an exercise corner, a massage chair and a magazine rack. The future experience map shows the envisioned experience of NICU nurses at a new Single Bed Unit department. 


The Boost concept is prototyped and piloted at the VUmc. A questionnaire with eight statements borrowed from the Amsterdam UMC’s own job satisfaction research questionnaire is used for measurement. Compared to the zero measurement a small but positive increase is observed for six statements. But more importantly, the participants completely agree that the Boost concept positively contributes to all the statements in the measurement. This data combined with the positive reactions shows that the boost concept has the potential for increasing job satisfaction. 

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