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J Adv Nurs. 2016 Mar;72(3):558-68. doi: 10.1111/jan.12849. Epub 2015 Nov 12.

Praise matters: the influence of nurse unit managers' praise on nurses' practice, work environment and job satisfaction: a questionnaire study.

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University of Iceland, Faculty of Nursing, Reykjavík, Iceland.
Landspitali University Hospital, Surgical Services, Reykjavík, Iceland.



The aim of this study was to investigate the associations between praise from nurse unit managers and job satisfaction, professional practice, workload, work climate and organizational commitment of nurses caring for surgical patients.


Praise influences experiences of employees.


Web-based, cross-sectional explorative survey design.


A structured questionnaire was used to measure praise given by nurse unit managers as perceived by nurses (n = 383; 49% response rate) working with surgical patients. Data were collected between December 2009-January 2010. Several variables assessed the major concepts under study. Binary logistic regression analysis was employed to compare nurses who receive praise very rarely/rarely as compared with very often/rather often.


Praise was received often/very often by 31·6% of participants. Compared with nurses receiving praise rarely/very rarely those who received it often/rather showed more job satisfaction, stated they had more opportunities to practice professionally, described a more positive work climate and were more committed to the organization such as being proud to work at and willing to make effort for the unit and hospital. There was no difference between the groups regarding workload. Main findings of the regression analysis were that nurses display their organizational commitment by not thinking about leaving the current workplace and those who value professional recognition are likelier to receive praise than their counterparts.


Nurse unit managers should praise their staff in a realistic fashion. Such praise is cost-effective, takes short time, produces positive influences on members of their staff and may improve patient safety.


job satisfaction; nurse unit manager; nursing management; nursing practice; praise; recognition; servant leadership; surgical nursing; work environment

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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