Change your life through journaling--The benefits of journaling for registered nurses

Lynda J. Dimitroff, Linda Sliwoski, Sue O’Brien, Lynn W. Nichols


Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the effect journaling had on the degree of compassion satisfaction (CS), burnout (BO), and trauma/compassion fatigue (TCF) present in registered nurses (RNs). A secondary objective of this study was to gain knowledge about participants’ experiences with journaling.

Methods: This study was a pre-test, post-test quasi-experimental design with a qualitative component. A total of 66 registered nurses were recruited to participate in a journaling class. Each RN completed the Professional Quality of Life Scale Survey Revision IV (ProQOL R-IV) three times. In addition to the surveys, participants were asked to answer two open-ended questions.

Results: CS, BO, and TCF all improved after taking the course. The overall change from Pre-survey to Post II-survey was statistically significant for compassion satisfaction (p = .008); burnout (p = .0001); and, trauma compassion fatigue (p = .0001). During constant-comparative analysis three themes were identified as: 1) journaling allowed me to unleash my inner most feelings, 2) journaling helped me to articulate and understand my feelings concretely, and 3) journaling helped me make more reasonable decisions.

Conclusions: This study provides valuable information about journaling having a positive effect over time on the ability of registered nurses to handle stress, increase CS, and decrease BO and TCF symptoms. While this information adds to the limited literature, further research needs to be conducted with a larger sample.


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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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