Professional Nurses and Work Passion

Bushardt, S. C., Beal, B. D., Young, M., & Khosla, S.  2016. Professional nurses and the dark side of work passion. Nursing Management, 47(1): 48-52. [journal, project]


One of the most distinguishing characteristics of professional nurses is their passion for their work. Research supports a dualistic model of work passion that includes both harmonious and obsessive variants. Harmonious work passion is a controllable inclination towards high levels of work engagement and is associated with a number of positive work outcomes; obsessive work passion describes as situation in which an individual feels pressured or compelled to work, but derives little pleasure or satisfaction from it. Obsessive work passion is associated with a number of negative outcomes, including burnout, role conflict, and work-life imbalance. We explore this “dark side” of work passion for nursing professionals. We argue that obsessive passion should be conceptualized on a continuum and intervention strategies should be adjusted accordingly. The negative effects of obsessive work passion can be mitigated by scheduling real breaks, by not bringing work home, working to change thought patterns, engaging in hobbies, focusing on improving critical thinking, and working to increase mindfulness. Future research should focus on prevention and early detection.

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