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Jpn J Nurs Sci. 2018 Apr;15(2):167-180. doi: 10.1111/jjns.12180. Epub 2017 Jul 13.

Effects of nurses' personality traits and their environmental characteristics on their workplace learning and nursing competence.

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School of Nursing, Yasuda Women's University, Hiroshima, Japan.
Department of Nursing, Hiroshima University Hospital, Hiroshima, Japan.



A good fit between an individual's personality traits and job characteristics motivates employees, and thus enhances their work behavior. However, how nurses' personality traits and their environmental characteristics relate to nurses' engagement in workplace learning, which improves their competence, has not been investigated. The aim of this study was to investigate how nurses' personality traits, environmental characteristics, and workplace learning were related to nursing competence.


A cross-sectional survey design was used. Questionnaires were distributed to 1167 Japanese registered nurses. Multiple regression analysis was used to examine the relationships between nurses' personality traits, the environmental characteristics, the nurses' engagement in workplace learning, and their competence.


A total of 315 nurses returned questionnaires (i.e., a return rate of 27.0%). The results showed that both the personality traits (extraversion, conscientiousness, openness to experience) and environmental characteristics (autonomy at work and feedback given) were related to workplace learning and self-rated nursing competence. The results also showed that the relationship between extraversion (active, adventurous and ambitious dispositions of an individual) and self-rated nursing competence was moderated by environmental characteristics, and partially mediated by workplace learning.


Positive personality traits, such as extraversion, conscientiousness, and openness to experience could enhance workplace learning and nursing competence. Moreover, environmental characteristics that allow nurses to express their personality traits have the potential to improve their learning and competence further.


environmental characteristics; nursing competence; personality traits; workplace learning

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