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Nurs Manag (Harrow). 2018 Mar 22;25(1):34-41. doi: 10.7748/nm.2018.e1643.

What keeps nurses happy? Implications for workforce well-being strategies.

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Mental health nursing, King's College London, England.



The aim of this article is to present selected findings from a doctoral study on the subjective well-being and subjective experience of mental health problems in UK mental health nurses. Here the concept of 'nurses' well-being' is explored.


Data were drawn from a survey of 237 mental health nurses about their mental health and well-being and from interviews with 27 mental health nurses with personal experience of mental health problems and high subjective well-being.


While nurses' subjective well-being is relatively low, some use strategies to support their well-being in and outside the workplace. Activities outside work that improved their wellbeing were physical exercise, mindfulness practice, spending time in nature and listening to music. Well-being was associated with clear boundaries between home and work life, regular clinical supervision and translating learning from work with patients to nurses' own lives.


Healthcare employers' staff health and well-being strategies should be informed by nurses' insights into what works for them. This may mean offering opportunities to take part in well-being activities. There are also opportunities to improve staff well-being through shared initiatives open to nurses and patients, and through an inclusive and empowering approach to staff engagement.


burnout; management; morale; staff welfare; ward managers; workforce

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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