196421 Meaningful moments in public health nursing

Monday, November 9, 2009: 2:50 PM

Roberta J. Hunt, PhD, MSPH, RN , Department of Nursing, College of St Catherine (University of St. Catherine as if June 1, 2009), St Paul, MN
Carol Pavlish, PhD, MS, RN , School of Nursing, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Bonnie Brueshoff, RN, PHN, MSN , Public Health Director/Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow, Dakota County Public Health Department, West St.Paul, MN
Sharon Cross, RN, MSPH , PHN Clinician, St. Paul-Ramsey County Department of Public Health, Maplewood, MN
Literature exists documenting the impact of the shortage of nurses in public health; however, there is little evidence about nurses' own perceptions of their meaningfulness at work or how contextual factors in the work environment influence their experience of meaningful work. The literature suggests links between work satisfaction, retention, quality of care, and meaningfulness in work. The purpose of this study was to gather public health nurses' stories of their most meaningful moments in nursing in an effort to develop deeper understanding about what makes moments meaningful and the context in which the meaningful moments occurred. Participants were asked to respond to three questions in an in-depth interview: a) Describe your most meaningful moment in nursing, b) What made the moment meaningful to you? and c) What factors influenced your meaningful moments? Thirteen nurses from two county agencies were interviewed. The participants ranged from 27 to 58 years of age (mean of 45 years of age), and had from 7 months to 34 years experience (mean of 13 years) working as public health nurses. The interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed using a holistic-form-based mode of analysis as well as the Atlas data management system. Identification of themes from the narratives reveals that meaningfulness is seen as having specific properties and is experienced through particular nursing roles. Personal, structural, and systemic factors that create barriers were identified as well as those facilitating meaningfulness in the workplace. The impact of meaningfulness was also noted as a theme in the narratives. The results of this study offer evidence to nurse leaders for designing institutional work policies to enhance nurses' experience of meaningfulness at work. Similarly the findings suggest the value of curriculum expansion to include ways nurses can create more meaningful work environments for themselves.

Learning Objectives:
Identify two contextual factors in the work environment that influence public health nursesí experience of meaningful work. Discuss at least one strategy for designing work environments and policies to enhance public health nursesí experience of meaningfulness. Describe an approach for educators creating curricula to use which can enhance student nursesí experience of meaningfulness.

Keywords: Public Health Nursing, Workforce

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the principle investigator on this research project. The content is not owned by anyone and Carol Pavlish, who worked as a co-collaborator is not able to present with me. I am the author of 2 books on the topic of community based care, one is in its 4th edition. I received a small grant through my college to complete this project. I have published and presented on the topic of community based care, service learning, and innovative model for community health clinical expereinces.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.