Bad Versus Good, What Matters More on the Treatment Floor? Relationships of Positive and Negative Events With Nurses’ Burnout and Engagement

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Many investigators have reported the stressful aspects of nursing; fewer have focused on nurses' positive work experiences. For this study, we developed a 2 × 2 typology of positive and negative events related to the tasks of nursing work and the social and organizational context of that work: successes, supports, constraints, and conflicts. We hypothesized that positive events would predict engagement, negative events would predict burnout, and negative events would be more strongly related to both burnout and engagement. In secondary analyses of data from 310 acute care nurses who completed survey measures of workplace events at one time point and burnout and engagement measures approximately eight months later, regression results indicated that both positive and negative work events contributed to engagement, whereas only negative events were related to burnout. The results of dominance analyses established that constraints and conflicts more strongly predicted burnout than did supports and successes. Additionally, consistent with a “bad is stronger than good” perspective, the strongest predictor of engagement was lower constraints, although successes, supports, and conflicts also predicted engagement. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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