Interventions to promote or improve the mental health of primary care nurses: a systematic review

J Nurs Manag. 2017 Nov;25(8):597-607. doi: 10.1111/jonm.12511. Epub 2017 Aug 6.


Aim: To synthesize the evidence on the effectiveness of interventions aiming to promote or improve the mental health of primary care nurses.

Background: Primary care nurses have been found to have high levels of emotional exhaustion and to be at increased risk of suffering from burnout, anxiety and depression. Given the increasingly critical role of nurses in high-performing primary care, there is a need to identify interventions that can effectively reduce these professionals' mental health problems and promote their well-being.

Evaluation: We conducted a systematic review on the effectiveness of interventions at the individual, group, work environment or organizational level.

Key issues: Eight articles reporting on seven unique studies met all eligibility criteria. They were non-randomized pre-post intervention studies and reported positive impacts of interventions on at least some outcomes, though caution is warranted in interpreting these results given the moderate-weak methodological quality of studies.

Conclusions: This systematic review found moderate-weak evidence that primary, secondary and combined interventions can reduce burnout and stress in nurses practising in community-based health care settings.

Implications for nursing management: The results highlight a need for the implementation and evaluation of new strategies tailored for community-based nurses practising in primary care.

Keywords: interventions; mental health; nursing; primary care; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Burnout, Professional / etiology
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Primary Care Nursing / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Workload / psychology
  • Workload / standards
  • Workplace / psychology
  • Workplace / standards