Connecting nurses when someone requires extra help


Burnout is a big health issue in the Netherlands, leading to a shortened lifespan and higher healthcare costs of more than a quarter-million people each year (RIVM, 2016). A group of people that experience a high level of burnout and burnout related complaints is healthcare professionals. The consequences of burnout in healthcare can be illustrated by the fact that staff shortages have almost doubled in 2017. An important reason for a relatively high outflow in healthcare is a high workload (Visser, 2017). Next to that, a study by SPRiNG shows that 45% of all nurses and caregivers fail to complete their education, while approximately 14% of the graduates are no longer working in healthcare two years after graduation (Bakker, Kox & Roelofs, 2016).

To get a better understanding of stress and burnout in the healthcare sector, multiple interviews, and a shadow study was held. The research showed that stress is a precursor to a burnout, which directed the project towards designing a solution for stressful situations that healthcare professional's experience, which includes the fact that they often have trouble asking for- and finding help effectively.

A design was made to easily connect colleagues for when someone required extra help with a certain task. The design aims to do this with the help of a wireless Arduino compatible board, a button and an RGB led in a 3D printed enclosure. To ask for help, a healthcare professional pushes a button, which makes the light of the remotes of others light up, so they can respond by pressing the button.

A concept pitch and subsequent interviews, including a video of the envisioned concept, showed a positive response which partially validates the design decisions that shaped the design. Finally, considerations for future iterations are discussed.

Future work consists of making the location tracking work, in hardware and software, which will also mean that the display, in combination with RFID should be able to represent names and locations. When this is done, a more realistic user test could be set up. This user test will give insight into further challenges, like manufacturing and scaling the concept.


Development business opportunity

Collaborating with potential stakeholders

Concept development

User interaction design

Shadow study

Interviewing stakeholders

HelpMote, a name tag that easily connect colleagues

Exploded view HelpMote

Final design HelpMote

Final design HelpMote

User & Society

As a student with an engineering background this was a perfect project to learn more about user experience design. Personally, this was one of the most valuable learning experiences for me. When developing our first concept, our project coach made clear that it is very important to put more attention in user experience, because even if the final product is excellent engineered, the user is able to use the product totally different. Over the course of the project, one team member was asking really critical questions about the user’s possible reactions. In the beginning, I unconsciously did not want to focus on all these questions, but during the development of the project I realized the importance of this topic.

This project brought me in contact with a lot of different people in health care. After we defined our target group, I arranged a day in a health care center to observe a workday of a nurse and had multiple interviews. Finally, I pitched our final concept for a department in a hospital. Through these contact moments I have experienced the value of involving the target group during the project first hand. Without their feedback, our final product would not have a connected this well with the target group.

Creativity & Aesthetics

During the idea generation at the beginning of the project, many techniques were used, such as a pressure cooker, solo brainstorming or group brainstorming. Via these different techniques we were able to find out what worked best for us as a group, so we were able to continue the best technique in stages later on.


Bakker, A. B., Demerouti, E., Taris, T. W., Schaufeli, W. B., & Schreurs, P. J. (2003). A multigroup analysis of the job demands-resources model in four home care organizations. International Journal of stress management, 10(1), 16.

RIVM (2015). Overspannenheid en burnout | Cijfers & Context | Huidige situatie | Retrieved 10-12-2017 from ttps://

Visser, R. O. (2017, November 23). Personeelstekort in de zorg is in een jaar tijd bijna verdubbeld. Retrieved 07-01-2018 from

© 2020 Jesper van Bentum