The HSSPR Seminar Series: Assessing Preferences and Perceived Restorative Qualities of Break Spaces for Nurses in China Purpose

Share Event

Abstract: While it is clear that nurses in China need support to adequately perform their jobs, little is known about how restorative spaces impact their mental and physical health. This study investigated nurses’ preference for (a) proximity of break areas, (b) functionality of break areas, (c) amenities, and (d) nature-related environmental features. Data were collected through interviews (N = 12), survey questionnaires (N = 88), and visual assessments (N = 88) with nurses who worked in inpatient settings in China. The results show that nurses preferred break rooms to be close to nursing stations, to have visual privacy from patients, to provide spaces and amenities for drinking, taking naps, dining, and chatting. Balconies and windows were shown to have a greater restorative effect than other nature-related design features (plants, artwork, photo walls, and sea video). Well-designed break areas were perceived to have positive impacts on nurse well-being, and patient and organizational outcomes.

Speaker: Xiaoyi Zhu, MS, BArch

Xiaoyi Zhu, MS, BArch

Xiaoyi Zhu, is a design researcher with background both in architecture design and environmental analysis. She has a strong passion in understanding and representing human needs and facilitating impact through human-centered design and evidence-based design. Her research interests lie in the intersection of design and environment psychology and are driven by some of these board questions: Why and how do spaces work the way they do? How can we better understand user’s needs through their own perspectives but also help them see through an innovative and unexpected lens?

Associated Readings: 

  • Ulrich RS, Berry LL, Quan X, Parish JT. A Conceptual Framework for the Domain of Evidence-Based Design. HERD: Health Environments Research & Design Journal. 2010;4(1):95-114. doi:10.1177/193758671000400107
  • Nejati A, Shepley M, Rodiek S, Lee C, Varni J. Restorative Design Features for Hospital Staff Break Areas: A Multi-Method Study. HERD: Health Environments Research & Design Journal. 2016;9(2):16-35. doi:10.1177/1937586715592632
  • Zhu X, Shepley MM. Assessing Preferences and Perceived Restorative Qualities of Break Spaces for Nurses in China. HERD: Health Environments Research & Design Journal. 2022;15(3):126-142. doi:10.1177/19375867221075837

Related Events

Surfacing the Need and Concepts for Alternative Design in Long Term Care


Dec 20, 2023 from 4pm-5:30pm (EST)


IHPME Events

Event Details
Digital fingerprint

Future of Health Leadership, Informatics and Policy (FHLIP) Conference


Feb 22, 2024

University of Toronto – Hart House, Great Hall
Join us at the University of Toronto’s historic Hart House for an insightful exploration of digital health policy and leadership.

IHPME Events

Event Details

Sign up for IHPME Connect.

Keep up to date with IHPME’s News & Research, Events & Program, Recognition, e-newsletter.

* indicates required

Get in Contact


Email Address: ihpme.communications@​

Manages all IHPME-wide communications and marketing initiatives, including events and announcements.