Incentivizing Self-Care Activities with Students in the TAMU-CC Nursing Program to Impact Self-Care Habits: A Quality Improvement Project




McKeen, Meagan


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Nurses and other medical professionals have historically faced many challenges to their physical and mental health. With the fast-paced and demanding nature of the medical field, it can be incredibly difficult for nurses to implement self-care tools that would help them deal with the challenges of their jobs (Green & Kinchen, 2021; Lin et al., 2019; Sarazine et al., 2021). Despite a relationship between fatigue and safety being recognized by The American Nurses Association (ANA) and The Joint Commission, there is still a disconnect between the research and policies, workplace cultures, and nurse preferences (Brown et al., 2020). Nursing is a caring profession which is taxing and requires that the patient remain the priority. However, after the shift, the nurse needs to ensure that their own health needs are met. After experiencing the intense and serious nature of the medical field, the nurse will often find themselves drained and overwhelmed. This concept is called burnout and it is a serious issue that is the result of overwork, stress, and generally the sapping of energy from the nurse (Green & Kinchen, 2021). The World Health Organization (WHO) classified burnout as an occupational phenomenon that is the result of unmanaged chronic workplace stress (2019). The WHO continues to expand upon burnout as feelings of exhaustion, increased feelings of negativism or mental detachment from one’s job, and reduced professional efficacy. Burnout can lead to a multitude of poor outcomes for the nurse and their work like reduced job satisfaction, performance, quality of patient care, and increase things like sickness rates and nurse turnover (Ameli et al., 2020; Anderson, 2020; Blackburn et al., 2020; Brown, 2020; Ghawadra et al., 2019, 2020; Green & Kinchen, 2021; Kelly et al., 2021; Lin et al., 2019; Monroe et al., 2021; Sarazine et al., 2021; Tolouian et al., 2022; Yilmazer et al., 2020). However, implementation of concepts to increase well-being and reduce stressors that lead to burnout has been shown to be closely associated with greater patient outcomes and reduced nurse turnover (Bogue, 2019; Parchment, 2022). Nurses have an ever-expanding need for physical and mental support that should be addressed to prevent burnout.The ethics of self-care and the discussion about how it relates to nurses has stretched far through the history of nurses. The ANA made a notable addition to the Nursing Code of Ethics with the addition of Provision 5 that states, “The nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to promote health and safety, preserve wholeness of character and integrity, maintain competence, and continue personal and professional growth” (2015, Provision 5). The ANA related this provision to the COVID-19 pandemic because it highlighted how important it is to take care of those that are providing care during such an unprecedented event (2020). Fowler (2018) explored the discussion of ethics in nursing that stretched through literature from the 1880’s up to the 2010’s. It was found that even in the 1880’s, nursing was thought to be encompassed by three core tenants of duty, being to the nurse themself, the physician they work under, and the patient. Zolinerek (2022) continued this discussion through an expert tip that punctuates the importance of self-care being a key aspect of the responsibility of the nurse. An evidence table (see Appendix A), using current research and expert’s observations, was constructed to address the PICO question: In nursing students from the Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) nursing program, will the implementation of incentivized self-care activities have an impact on the frequency of self-care over the course of four weeks? The data from the table were analyzed and synthesized, then the findings were used to inform the proposed quality improvement project.


College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Honors Program; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Pamela Greene


nursing students, stress, burnout, mindfulness, self-care, incentive