Mattering: How Organizations, Patients, and Peers Can Affect Nurse Burnout and Engagement

J Nurs Adm. 2020 May 1;50(5):267-273. doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000882.


Objective: The aim of this study was to explore professional mattering in a broad cohort of nurses.

Background: Mattering is a construct from social psychology that describes the feeling that one makes a difference in the lives of others and has significance in one's community.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey assessing mattering, meaning, social support, burnout, and engagement was administered to nurses and nurse practitioners working in various specialties in the United States.

Results: Higher levels of mattering at work were associated with lower burnout and higher engagement. Mattering was correlated with perceived social support from one's organization, supervisor, peers, and subordinates. Open-ended responses describing experiences of mattering at work included demonstrating professional competence, positive interactions with patients and interprofessional peers, and receiving recognition from one's organization.

Conclusions: A perception of mattering at work is associated with lower levels of burnout. Our data suggest that affirming interactions with other healthcare team members promote a sense of mattering.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse Practitioners / psychology*
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Support*
  • United States
  • Work Engagement*