Nurses' perception of their work environment, health, and well-being: a qualitative perspective

AAOHN J. 2004 Jan;52(1):16-22.


The purpose of this analysis was to identify themes nurses expressed in open-ended comments at the end of a working conditions survey related to their work environment, health, and well-being. The nursing shortage, downsizing, and long working hours create challenges for nurses trying to deliver quality client care. In addition, nurses are experiencing high levels of physical injury in their work environments. Injuries on the job have led nurses to leave the workplace. Free form comments offered at the completion of a mailed survey of RNs were analyzed for content. Randomly selected nurses from two U.S. states were surveyed in 1999 and 2000 about their jobs with special reference to neck, shoulder, and back pain and disorders. Of the 1,428 respondents, 309 produced usable comments for this content analysis. Constant comparative analysis was used to identify themes present in themes addressed in the nurses' comments included excessive work demands, injustice or unfairness, and nurses' personal solutions to their work environments. Based on the issues raised in the themes, recommendations are provided for improving retention while promoting nurses' health and well-being.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illinois / epidemiology
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Lifting / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / prevention & control
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / psychology
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff / organization & administration
  • Nursing Staff / psychology*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology
  • Occupational Health
  • Personnel Downsizing
  • Personnel Turnover
  • Qualitative Research
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workload
  • Workplace / organization & administration
  • Workplace / psychology*