Theses Doctoral

Perceptions of Nurse Engagement among Bedside Nurses and Nurse Leaders: A Qualitative Descriptive Study

Huber, Kerri L.

Employee engagement is a topic that has been widely studied over the course of the past 30 years. Its potential value to healthcare organizations has only begun to be recognized within the most recent decade. Numerous studies have been conducted which demonstrate that increased employee engagement contributes to improved patient outcomes, including decreased mortality and hospital acquired conditions as well as increased patient experience scores. Despite the plethora of literature available documenting the drivers of, barriers to, and outcomes associated with employee engagement hospitals have struggled to gain traction in increasing their scores. Many experts in employee engagement posit that this could be due to a lack of consistent conceptualization of the phenomenon.
This qualitative descriptive study was conducted to understand the perceived attitudes and behaviors of the nurses who are engaged in their work from the perspective of both their peers and leaders. Sixteen total participants were interviewed utilizing a semi-structured interview guide with questions that were derived from Arnold Bakker’s evidence-based model of work engagement. Content analysis was utilized to identify themes and sub-themes from each of the participant group’s responses to each of the questions. There were minimal differences in the responses of the direct-care RNs as compared to the nurse leaders regarding their perceptions of the engaged nurse. Resulting themes were then synthesized and four overarching themes identified. Overarching themes were personal style, extra-role behavior, commitment to the patient, and leadership.
Participant responses supported Bakker’s model, but highlighted the engaged nurse’s personality as a significant and widely overlooked contributor to engagement. By recognizing the personal attributes inherent to the engaged nurse hospitals may better understand the traits important to the recruitment of nurses who are more likely to be engaged in their work. Effective recruitment and retention of a highly engaged workforce will allow organizations to benefit from the extra-role work often demonstrated by the engaged nurse and realize improved patient outcomes as a result.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Organization and Leadership
Thesis Advisors
Frederickson, Keville C.
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 6, 2019