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career satisfaction, hospice nursing, job satisfaction, palliative care, palliative care nursing, professional fulfillment



  1. Perry, Beth PhD, RN


This study explored the experience of professional fulfillment in palliative care nursing. A descriptive phenomenological design was used. A purposive sample of eight palliative care nurses participated. Potential participants were asked the following: "Do you love your work as a nurse?" A purposive sample of those who answered yes participated in semistructured conversations. During the conversations, the participants were asked to recall their most professionally fulfilling experiences. Conversations were audiotaped and transcribed. Transcripts were analyzed for reoccurring themes using three points of reference. These points are recurrence of ideas, repetition of ideas, and forcefulness with which ideas are expressed. Secondary analysis took the form of poetic interpretation. Four themes emerged: upholding the vulnerable, continuing the legacy, meeting needs in an unexpected way, and attending to the essential ordinary. The discussion highlights possible relationships between professional fulfillment, recognition, connection, staff retention, and quality of care.