Background Because of high demands at work, nurses are at high risk for occupational burnout and physical complaints. The presence of job resources (such as job autonomy or social support) and recovery opportunities could counteract the adverse effect of high job demands. However, it is still unclear how job resources and recovery opportunities can be translated into effective workplace interventions aiming to improve employee health, well-being, and performance-related outcomes. The aim of the current research project is developing and implementing interventions to optimize job resources and recovery opportunities, which may lead to improved health, well-being and performance of nurses. Methods/design The DIRECT-project (DIsc Risk Evaluating Controlled Trial) is a longitudinal, quasi-experimental field study. Nursing home staff of 4 intervention wards and 4 comparison wards will be involved. Based on the results of a base-line survey, interventions will be implemented to optimize job resources and recovery opportunities. After 12 and 24 month the effect of the interventions will be investigated with follow-up surveys. Additionally, a process evaluation will be conducted to map factors that either stimulated or hindered successful implementation as well as the effectiveness of the interventions. Discussion The DIRECT-project fulfils a strong need for intervention research in the field of work, stress, performance, and health. The results could reveal (1) how interventions can be tailored to optimize job resources and recovery opportunities, in order to counteract job demands, and (2) what the effects of these interventions will be on health, well-being, and performance of nursing staff.