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How Advocate Children’s “bounce back kits” improve nurse resilience

There are many stressors in the health care environment. Yet, nurses often don’t have time to decompress while working, and prioritize patient care over self-care.

To help nurses take a moment for self-care, leaders at Advocate Children's Hospital embedded a variety of emotional support resources on the unit, including a $5 care package called the “bounce back kit.”

Bounce back kits are small care packages with a variety of low-cost items that help nurses take a moment to decompress or recover from a trauma. Each kit has an overarching theme, such as acceptance, gratitude, or relaxation. The contents of the kit relate to the theme, as well. For example, the relaxation kit includes a reflection exercise, a coloring book, earplugs, and candles.

Bounce back kits are stored in a central location, where anyone—staff or managers—can access the kits at any time to give to a colleague. While the bounce back kits are a small gesture, nurses find that a few minutes of self-care can make a big difference in their stress level and their ability to bounce back after a tough day at work.

If you’re interested in creating bounce back kits, we suggest two important steps:

  1. Start by surveying frontline nurses on what items would be most meaningful to them. Then, build themes around these items.
  2. Make sure the kits are easily accessible so frontline staff can easily grab one for a colleague in need. Bounce back kits can be a unit-based or an organization-wide resource. If they are organization-wide, consider storing them in multiple locations.

At Advocate Children’s, bounce back kits are just one part of their emotional support bundle. Advocate Children’s provides a number of unit-based resources to support frontline staff, including chaplain-led debriefs, code lavender carts, and moments of silence. To read more about Advocate Children’s holistic approach to emotional support and other strategies to build frontline resilience, read our Nursing Executive Center’s report, Rebuild the Foundation for a Resilient Workforce.

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