Perceptions of work engagement of nurses in Taiwan

Mei-Ling Wu, The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston


Purpose. The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions of work engagement of Taiwanese nurses with 3 specific aims: (1) understand Taiwanese nurses' perceptions of work engagement; (2) explore the factors influencing work engagement, and (3) examine how work engagement impacts nursing care for patients. Design. The study used an ethnographic approach with participant observation and semi-structured interviews with RNs. Setting. The study was conducted in the highest and lowest nurse turnover medical surgical units at a regional teaching hospital in southwestern Taiwan. Sample. Purposive sampling resulted in 28 formal interviews with RNs who provided direct patient care, had at least 3 months experience in nursing, and were full-time employees. Methods. Descriptive data were collected through participant observation in each unit. Observations were made while attending meetings, continuing education sessions, and informal conversations with RNs. Field notes and audio recorded semi-structured interviews were analyzed using qualitative thematic analytic techniques. Findings. Findings revealed perceptions of work engagement spanned four domains: patients ("wholehearted care"), work (positive attitude), self (fulfillment and happiness), and others (relationships with colleagues). Providing "wholehearted care" toward patients was the foundation of work engagement for nurses in Taiwan. Engaged nurses felt fulfilled, happy, and found "meaning" through the process of patient care. The study revealed five factors that influenced work engagement: personal, organizational, social, patient, and professional. The impact of work engagement on nurse and patient outcomes are confirmed. Conclusions. Taiwanese nurses connect work engagement with patients, the job, oneself, and colleagues. "Wholehearted patient care" is the core manifestation of work engagement among these nurses. In contrast, studies in western business only focused on work attitudes. Losing interest and "heart" lead to work routines which can lead to individual unhappiness. Findings from this study validate the multiple factors contributing to work engagement of nurses. Job demands and resources can only partially explain what hinders work engagement. Work disengagement and burnout share some commonality but should be measured differently. An understanding of RNs' perceptions of work engagement may provide direction for strategies that improve work engagement leading to decreased RN turnover.

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Recommended Citation

Wu, Mei-Ling, "Perceptions of work engagement of nurses in Taiwan" (2010). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3445862.