DOI: 10.4037/ajcc2024714 ISSN: 1062-3264

Nurses’ Professional Quality of Life and Self-Care: A Mixed-Methods Study

Adrianna Lorraine Watson
  • Critical Care Nursing
  • General Medicine


Improving retention of nurses working in critical care is an urgent priority. Ideas on how to do this abound, but actual data are inconclusive. One common theory is that simply increasing nurse resiliency will minimize turnover.


To determine whether knowledge and application of compassionate self-care practices can significantly improve nurses’ professional quality of life and thereby promote their retention.


This pilot study had a mixed-methods design. A training program in self-care techniques was implemented in a level IV trauma care secondary hospital, with data collected before and after the intervention by means of written surveys. Study participants were 40 nursing professionals working in an intensive care unit and a medical/surgical unit. The underlying theory was Jean Watson’s framework of human caring.


The study results showed that, although the participants evaluated the training program positively and reported improved work-life balance, they did not experience a statistically significant change in professional quality of life from before the intervention to after the intervention.


The study findings are consistent with current literature indicating that prevention of compassion fatigue and burnout cannot be achieved by the efforts of individuals alone but requires collaboration between professionals and their institutions, with special attention to 3 elements: (1) a healthy work environment, (2) organizational support, and (3) nurse resiliency.

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