Applying Design Thinking in Health Care: Reflections of Nursing Honors Program Students

Academic Article


  • Nursing faculty at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) incorporated design thinking (DT) into the curriculum of the UAB School of Nursing Honors Program as a framework for undergraduate students' immersion into research experiences. This article describes the experiences of students who participated in the first honors class that used DT and discusses how to incorporate DT into nursing research and quality improvement projects. Active learning strategies provided students various opportunities to conceptualize and apply the five-step DT process by identifying possible solutions to problems in clinical settings. Three major themes emerged from these reflections: trusting the process, cultivating empathy, and applying DT in the future. Students found that trusting the process of learning about DT facilitated their understanding of empathy's role in health care as they recognized DT's far-reaching applications beyond the honors program. A pragmatic, intuitive, and innovative approach to identifying problems and solutions, DT empowers nurses to creatively and confidently address issues they encounter to improve outcomes for their patients, health-care systems, and communities.
  • Published In

  • Creative Nursing  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wingo N; Jones CR; Pittman BR; Purter T; Russell M; Brown J; Ladores S
  • Start Page

  • 169
  • End Page

  • 174
  • Volume

  • 26
  • Issue

  • 3