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Equipping Breakrooms to Help Improve Morale and Efficiency

By CME Corp Staff | October 24, 2023

Twenty-four patients. Four Nurses. Oh, and one nurse is on day three of twelve-hour shifts. Another is on their second shift of the day.

The scene has been set for nursing staff, some already feeling exhausted, to skip breaks in favor of prioritizing caring for patients.

The question is, if anyone does manage to take much needed time to eat, use the restroom, and recharge, is the breakroom inviting, comfortable, and designed for rejuvenation?

Studies published by the National Library of Medicine as far back as 2015 concluded that “improvements in the restorative quality of break areas may significantly improve nurses' satisfaction and stress reduction, potentially leading to improved care for the patients they serve.” 1

Makes sense, but how does one encourage staff to use break areas?

Studies have also shown that healthcare staff are more likely to use breakrooms if:

  • The breakroom is near the work area.
  • The area offers complete privacy away from patients and families.
  • There is the option for privacy or socialization with coworkers.
  • And in a perfect world, the area offers access to private outdoor space.

While getting staff to the breakroom is a challenge, identifying the benefits of designated areas for downtime is not.


Hospital Breakrooms Positively Impact Morale and Efficiency

With so much of the focus these days on staff retention, performance, and job satisfaction it is important not to underestimate or overlook the benefits of break areas designed and equipped to help staff recharge.

Here are four of the many ways nursing breakrooms contribute to a positive work environment and by extension boost the overall quality of patient care.

1. Relaxation and Stress Reduction

Breakrooms near the work area but “off the beaten path” offer staff a place to relax and unwind a bit. Whether this involves a healthy meal, bathroom break, a chance to catch up on texts, or a quick power nap is up for grabs. The important point is the down time. Time away helps nursing staff return to the floor with renewed focus and energy.

Comfortable seating in a well-lit space goes a long way to encouraging the relaxation so important to recharging the body and mind.

2. Social Interaction and Team Building

Breakrooms used by staff from multiple departments offer the opportunity to build connections and offer support to one another. Psychology tells us that when people feel connected they are more likely to work efficiently and collaboratively, important attributes in times of staffing shortage.

The private space of the breakroom offers staff a safe place to seek advice or simply vent about the challenges of the day. The mental and emotional support offered by people who “get it” can help reduce burnout and increase efficiency.

3. Healthy Food Options

Nursing breakrooms well equipped with refrigerators, microwaves, and maybe a countertop hotplate offer the opportunity for staff to enjoy healthier food during breaks. Thoughtfully chosen breakroom cabinets offer a place to store nutritious snacks and drinks that can help improve energy levels and concentration. Science tells us that eating properly reduces the likelihood of energy dips between meals.

4. Recognition and Appreciation

Feeling valued and appreciated can boost morale, lead to increased job satisfaction and ultimately renewed motivation. What better place to display thank you notes and celebrate staff achievements than the nursing breakroom.


Furnishing and Equipping Nursing Breakrooms

Designing a breakroom that encourages staff to take a break and is tailored to the needs and preferences of the caregivers cannot be overstated. Creating a space for healthcare staff to relax, connect, and refuel can be the epicenter for a ripple of positive attitudes and efficiency.

While involving staff in the design and outfitting of the breakroom is the best plan, that may not always be feasible. With that in mind, here are some essentials to consider when furnishing a hospital breakroom.

  • Comfortable chairs, sofas, and stools to accommodate different preferences and needs.
  • Ample dining tables and work surfaces for staff to use during breaks.
  • A kitchenette equipped with refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and sink for food preparation.
  • Cabinets, lockers, or shelves to store kitchenette supplies, nutritious snacks, or personal items.
  • Utensils, plates, cups, and mugs for general use and a dishwasher to save time keeping the utensils and dishware clean.
  • Amenities like pillows, cushions, and blankets to encourage comfortable relaxation during the break.
  • Decorating with soothing colors, artwork (maybe motivational quotes), plants, and even photos of staff at community events helps create a positive and calming space.
  • Entertainment options in the form of television or Wi-Fi access and charging stations for caregivers wishing to use their own devices for entertainment should be a staple.
  • A notice board to display notices of staff recognition, accolades from patients, and important announcements.
  • Welcoming and warm lighting.
  • Finally, proper ventilation for a fresh atmosphere.

Within the breakroom space, setting aside a quiet corner with comfortable seating (maybe a beanbag chair) designated for a quick nap or catching up on the lives of the characters in a good book is important and appreciated.

There are a host of reasons why nursing staff skip the breaks vitally important for their well-being. But thoughtfully designed and equipped breakrooms can encourage exhausted staff to take a much-needed break.

Staff breakrooms also offer a benefit to the patient. Staff returning to duty recharged are less likely to make errors that could affect the well-being of patients.


CME Can Help Create the Perfect Breakroom

As a premier medical equipment distributor, CME has established relationships with cabinet, shelving, and seating manufacturers. Our experts can help you source the best equipment for your facility’s breakrooms.

With over four decades of experience, CME has supported countless, successful hospital construction and renovation projects. We work with all members of the construction team, from in-house staff and design teams to equipment planners, architects, and project managers to ensure renovations or new constructions are ready on time and on budget.

Our turnkey DTS logistics teams can:

  • Build a comprehensive checklist and quote of required equipment for breakrooms and every other room in the facility.
  • Help you choose the best cabinets, shelving units, and seating for the nurses break room.
  • Consolidate the order into one purchase order. We will schedule and track the shipments to ensure the casework and seating arrives on time without any “hidden” fees.
  • Receive and warehouse the items until the breakroom is ready for installation.
  • Assemble the cabinets, shelving, and seating prior to delivery and work with manufacturers/shipping companies to correct defects or damage issues identified during assembly.
  • Deliver your medical furnishings when you are ready, install them, and take away all packing materials.

Click the CHAT to share your casework and furniture needs for a breakroom renovation. A CME expert is ready to start the conversation with you.

1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26163571

About CME: CME Corp is the nation’s premier source for healthcare equipmentturnkey logistics, and biomedical services, representing 2 million+ products from more than 2,000 manufacturers. With two corporate offices and 35+ service centers, our mission is to help healthcare facilities nationwide reduce the cost of the equipment they purchase, make their equipment specification, delivery, installation, and maintenance processes more efficient, and help them seamlessly launch, renovate and expand on schedule.


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