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Relationships Among Work Stress, Job Satisfaction, Mental Health, and Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors in New Graduate Nurses Attending the Nurse Athlete Program: A Call to Action for Nursing Leaders

Melnyk, Bernadette Mazurek PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN; Hrabe, David P. PhD, RN; Szalacha, Laura A. EdD

doi: 10.1097/NAQ.0b013e3182a2f963
Original Articles

Background: Although nurses are educated to take outstanding care of others, they themselves often have poor health outcomes, including high rates of depression and obesity, which are associated with stressful work environments. Furthermore, a high percentage of new graduate nurses leave their positions in the first year of employment, resulting in exorbitant costs to health care systems.

Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine the relationships among key variables that influence job satisfaction and healthy lifestyle behaviors of new graduate nurses, including workplace stress, work environment, lifestyle beliefs, and mental health.

Design: A descriptive correlational design was used with baseline data from 61 new graduate nurses attending the 2-day Nurse Athlete program, a workshop that focuses on nutrition, energy management, and physical activity.

Results: Higher levels of workplace stress were associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety as well as lower levels of resiliency, job satisfaction, and healthy lifestyle beliefs.

Implications: Nurse leaders and managers must invest in creating healthy work environments for new and experienced nurses as well as provide mental health screening, resources, and intervention programs that focus on education and skills-building in health promoting behaviors, including emotional regulation of stress, anxiety, and depression.

The Ohio State University College of Nursing, Columbus, Ohio.

Correspondence: Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, The Ohio State University College of Nursing, 145 Newton Hall, 1585 Neil Ave, Columbus, OH 43210 (

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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