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  1. Sweeney, Cynthia Divens DNP, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, FAAN
  2. Wiseman, Rebecca PhD, RN


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to identify what meaningful recognition is to nurses in a postpandemic healthcare landscape.


BACKGROUND: The COVID pandemic has exacerbated the critical need to retain our nursing workforce. Meaningful recognition as a component of a healthy work environment can be a strategy to retain nurses. Identifying what is considered meaningful recognition to nurses will optimize organizational use of it.


METHODS: A descriptive correlational design was used. Members of Sigma Theta Tau in the state of Maryland were asked to respond to an online survey consisting of demographic data and questions exploring meaningful recognition and the healthy work environment using tools with established reliability and validity. Deidentified data from 163 respondents were collected.


RESULTS: Meaningful recognition strategies that meant the most to nurses in this study were: 1) reasonable payment for level of service provided; 2) public recognition within the organization and the profession; and 3) opportunities for professional development. Trends in desired meaningful recognition varied across ethnic/racial and gender groups.


CONCLUSIONS: Meaningful recognition to nurses is as diverse as the nursing population. It is important that instruments be developed to capture the rich cultural and ethnic differences in relation to what is considered meaningful recognition to the nursing workforce. Although pay, public recognition, and opportunities for advancement were seen in this study as important forms of meaningful recognition, a deeper exploration across ethnic, racial, and gender groups is needed. This study underscored that one size of meaningful recognition does not fit all.