Given that emotional exhaustion and nurse engagement have significant implications for nurse well-being and organizational performance, determining how to increase nurse engagement while reducing nurse exhaustion is of value.
Resource loss and gain cycles, as theorized in conservation of resources theory, are examined using the experience of emotional exhaustion to evaluate loss cycles and work engagement to evaluate gain cycles. Furthermore, we integrate conservation of resources theory with regulatory focus theory to examine how the ways in which individuals approach work goals serves as a facilitator to the acceleration and deceleration of both of these cycles.
Using data from nurses working in a hospital in the Midwest United States at six time points spanning over 2 years, we demonstrate the accumulation effects of the cycles over time using latent change score modeling.
We found that prevention focus was associated with the accelerated accumulation effects of emotional exhaustion and that promotion focus was associated with the accelerated accumulation effects of work engagement. Furthermore, prevention focus attenuated the acceleration of engagement, but promotion did not influence the acceleration of exhaustion.
Our findings suggest that individual factors such as regulatory focus are key to helping nurses to better control their resource gain and loss cycles.
We provide implications for nurse managers and health care administrators to help encourage promotion focus and suppress prevention focus in the workplace.