Day-to-day care of patients throughout the continuum of life puts medical surgical nurses at risk for burnout and secondary traumatic stress (STS). Due to the unpredictable nature of patient care, current burnout and STS interventions that take the nurse away from the bedside have high attrition rates. A feasibility pilot to test a mobile intervention left many questions unanswered regarding the medical surgical nursing population, burnout, and STS. This multiple case-study was developed to investigate nursing burnout, STS, and support from leadership and membership perspectives within one professional nursing organization. The Nurse as Wounded Healer Theory (NWH) that guided this study is grounded in Greek mythology and asserts that nurses must transcend their own pain/distress along the pathway to healing to become a wounded healer. Burnout and emotional distress (or secondary traumatic stress) are components of remaining on the unresolved pathway. This embedded multiple case study design research was conducted via a convenience sample of leaders and members of a professional nursing organization. Primary research questions are: How does AMSN and their membership define, screen for, and manage burnout and STS? How does AMSN and their membership integrate lessons learned from overcoming burnout and STS to support others? Demographic data are analyzed for descriptive statistics. Interviews are transcribed and thematically analyzed.

Date of publication

Fall 10-22-2018

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Gloria Duke, Dr. Danice Greer, Dr. Eric Stocks


Doctorate of Philosophy in Nursing

Included in

Nursing Commons