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.PURPOSES:
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.METHODS:
Exploratory descriptive designs using focus groups and guided questions with tape-recorded interviews were used to define the characteristics of an HWE.RESULTS:
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.