The current state of the American healthcare system is riddled with challenges. Nurse administrators are faced with the formidable tasks of decreasing operating costs; improving the patient experience; delivering high-quality and safe patient care; and decreasing the mounting rates of nurse turnover. Nurse leaders must understand the complexities of their work environment, including the key drivers for nurse satisfaction and retention. In 2005, the American Association of Critical Nurses developed six standards for creating a healthy work environment. (American Association of Critical Care Nurses, 2016). An adult, medical-surgical unit at a South Texas hospital was faced with rising rates of turnover from 2018 to 2020. Unit leaders faced two important challenges: understand why staff were leaving, and how to retain their nurses for the future.

Upon the review of several sources of data, it was determined that the unit was suffering from a key link to their healthy work environment: meaningful recognition. A review and synthesis of the current research on meaningful recognition was completed, and interventions were implemented. A three-tiered meaningful recognition program was employed over a two-month period on the unit. The results of this program were evaluated and recommendations for the future were made to continue improvement.

Date of publication

Fall 12-10-2020

Document Type

MSN Capstone Project



Persistent identifier



Masters in Nursing Administration