Organizational Values

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Work engagement is key to organizational efforts to retain nurses and mitigate future nursing shortages. In their dual role as caregivers and organization “keepers,” nurses may already have the key to creating a culture of engagement. “The characteristics and benefits of “engaging” work environments are captured in nursing professional practice models, as evidenced by a quarter century of research on Magnet hospitals and professional practice.” (ANA 2004) An inflection point, providing an opportunity for transformational change in the nursing work environment, may be generated by a critical need for nurses and a call for healthcare delivery system redesign. “In 2001, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) made a commitment to actively promote the creation of healthy work environments that support and foster excellence in patient care wherever acute and critical care nurses practice.” (ANA 2004) This commitment is based on the Association’s dedication to optimal patient care and the recognition that the deepening nurse shortage cannot be reversed without healthy work environments that support excellence in nursing practice. There is mounting evidence that unhealthy work environments contribute to medical errors, ineffective delivery of care, and conflict and stress among health professionals. Negative, demoralizing and unsafe conditions in workplaces cannot be allowed to continue. The creation of healthy work environments is imperative to ensure patient safety, enhance staff recruitment and retention, and maintain an organization’s financial viability. “AACN is strategically committed to bringing its influence and resources to bear on creating work and care environments that are safe, healing, humane and respectful of the rights, responsibilities, needs and contributions of all people–including patients, their families and nurses.” (Aiken 2002) Six standards for establishing and sustaining healthy work environments have been identified. Putting...
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