Power of Positivity

Amy Keller, MSN, RN, NPD-BC; Rachel B. Baker, PhD, RN, CPN, CRN-BC; Brandon Ballhaus, MSN, RN, CNOR; Sharon Brehm, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC; Susan Hanselman, DNP, RN, CNML; Michele Huff, MSN, RN, CPHQ, CMSRN


Am Nurs Journal. 2022;17(12) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Most nurses report experiencing moderate-to-high levels of stress, which can lead to burnout and job dissatisfaction. However, stress experienced by unit nurse leaders reaches beyond themselves to affect the nurses they serve and potentially patient care. Addressing nurse leader stress could have significant impact on nurse leaders themselves and their organizations.

Positive thinking skills training may present an innovative opportunity to combat stress and improve coping. In 2013, Bekhet and Zauszniewski developed a scale to measure what they defined as positive thinking, "a cognitive process that creates hopeful images, develops optimistic ideas, finds favorable solutions to problems, makes affirmative decisions, and produces an overall bright outlook on life." Although some people seem to have an innate ability to use positive thinking strategies, research by Bekhet and Mohammad-Najar and colleagues demonstrates that the skill of positive thinking can be taught.

The effectiveness of this training on nurse leaders hadn't been previously examined, so we conducted a research study to determine whether positive thinking skills training would increase nurse leaders' engagement and ability to cope with stress and whether improvements could be sustained.