In the Moment: Fostering Mindfulness and Reducing Stressors in the Healthcare Workplace

HERD. 2021 Jul;14(3):386-398. doi: 10.1177/1937586720988243. Epub 2021 Feb 4.


While healthcare design research has primarily focused on patient outcomes, there is a growing recognition that environmental interventions could do more by promoting the overall quality of care, and this requires expanding the focus to the health and well-being of those who deliver care to patients. Healthcare professionals are under high levels of stress, leading to burnout, job dissatisfaction, and poor patient care. Among other tools, mindfulness is recommended as a way of decreasing stress and helping workers function at higher levels. This article aims to identify potential environmental strategies for reducing work-related stressors and facilitating mindfulness in healthcare settings. By examining existing evidence on workplace mindfulness and stress-reducing design strategies, we highlight the power of the physical environment in not only alleviating stressful conditions but intentionally encouraging a mindful perspective. Strategies like minimizing distractions or avoiding overstimulation in the healthcare environment can be more effective if implemented along with the provision of designated spaces for mindfulness-based programs. Future research may explore optimal methods and hospital workers' preferences for environments that support mindfulness and stress management. The long-term goal of all these efforts is to enhance healthcare professionals' well-being, reignite their professional enthusiasm, and help them be resilient in times of stress.

Keywords: distractions; environmental stimuli; interruptions; meditation; mindfulness; preventive stress management; stressors; work-related stress.

MeSH terms

  • Burnout, Professional* / prevention & control
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Mindfulness*
  • Workplace