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Self-transcendence and Work Engagement in Acute Care Staff Registered Nurses

Palmer, Beth DNP, ANP-BC, ACNS-BC, CCRN; Quinn Griffin, Mary T. PhD, RN; Reed, Pamela PhD, RN, FAAN; Fitzpatrick, Joyce J. PhD, RN, FAAN

doi: 10.1097/CNQ.0b013e3181d912d8

The ability of human beings to find meaning by being directed toward something, or someone, other than themselves is termed “self-transcendence.” Previous research indicated that the ability of nurses to self-transcend and thus derive positive meaning from patient-caring experiences increased work commitment and fostered work engagement. However, the relationship between self-transcendence and work engagement had not been investigated. The purpose of this study was to explore the levels and relationships of self-transcendence and work engagement in acute care staff registered nurses (ACSRNs). This was a descriptive correlational study using Reed's theory of self-transcendence. The Self-transcendence Scale, the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale, and a demographic questionnaire were completed by a convenience sample of 84 ACSRNs who attended an annual acute care nursing conference in northern Illinois. ACSRNs level of self-transcendence was high, similar to that of other nurses, but higher than that of nonnurses. ACSRNs level of work engagement was at the high end of the “average” range. There was a significant positive correlation between self-transcendence and work engagement. Nurses with higher levels of self-transcendence had more energy toward and were more dedicated and absorbed in their work.

Medical-Surgical Telemetry Unit, VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California (Dr Palmer); Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio (Drs Quinn Griffin and Fitzpatrick); and College of Nursing, University of Arizona, Tucson (Dr Reed).

Corresponding Author: Beth Palmer, DNP, APRN-BC, CCRN, VA San Diego Healthcare System, 3350 La Jolla Village Dr, San Diego, CA 92161 (

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.