Abstract

Hospitals are situated within historical and socio-political contexts; these influence the provision of patient care and the work of registered nurses (RNs). Since the early 1990s, restructuring and the increasing pressure to save money and improve efficiency have plagued acute care hospitals. These changes have affected both the work environment and the work of nurses. After recognizing this impact, healthcare leaders have dedicated many efforts to improving the work environment in hospitals. Admirable in their intent, these initiatives have made little change for RNs and their work environment, and thus, an opportunity exists for other efforts. Research indicates that spirit at work (SAW) not only improves the work environment but also strengthens the nurse's power to improve patient outcomes and contribute to a high-quality workplace. In this paper, we present findings from our research that suggest SAW be considered an important component in improving the work environment in acute care hospitals.