Aim: The aim of this study was to gain insight into registered nurses' experiences of caring for older people in the UK and Japan.
Method: Critical incident technique was used because of its ability to capture actual incidents from practice. Written, anonymous self-report data were collected during 2010. Participants were asked to recall two critical incidents where they had felt either rewarded or challenged at work. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.
Findings: Analysis revealed striking similarities in the experiences of nurses from both countries. Four main themes emerged: the challenges of a complex work environment; the challenges of resolving ethical conflicts; the rewards of establishing meaningful relationships; and the rewards of achieving excellence in individual patient care.
Conclusion: The study provides new evidence from two different countries that although there are some challenges, nurses reap many rewards from working with older people.