The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) Healthy Work Environment Assessment Tool was developed as a simple screening tool to assess the characteristics of a healthy work environment (HWE) in critical care environments.
The purposes of these 2 qualitative research studies are to explore the nurse leaders’ and direct care nurses’ perceptions of the meaning of a HWE, to describe the nurse leaders’ and direct care nurses’ perceptions of a HWE, and to define the characteristics of a HWE in acute care settings.
Exploratory descriptive designs using focus groups and guided questions with tape-recorded interviews were used to define the characteristics of an HWE.
The 6 original themes from AACN HWE standards and 2 new themes emerged as a result of the nurse leaders and direct care nurses defining the characteristics of a HWE, which included appropriate staffing, authentic leadership, effective decision making, meaningful recognition, skilled communication, true collaboration genuine teamwork, and physical and psychological safety. The qualitative statements from these 2 studies will be used in future studies to describe and develop HWE scales for nurse leaders and direct care nurses and to assess the psychometric properties of these new tools.
Author Affiliations: Magnet Coordinator/Nurse Researcher (Dr Huddleston), Baylor Scott & White Medical Center Irving, Texas; and Associate Dean (Dr Gray), College of Natural and Health Sciences, Oklahoma Christian University, Edmond.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Correspondence: Dr Huddleston, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center Irving, 1901 N MacArthur Blvd, Irving, TX 75061 (Penny.Huddleston@BSWHealth.org).