Mattering describes the perception that one makes a difference in the lives of others and is significant in the world. This desire to positively influence others’ lives is at the heart of the professional identity of most health care professionals. We hypothesize that a sense of mattering can enhance resilience and decrease burnout in clinicians.
We used computer based survey methodology to administer a series of previously validated scales and two open ended questions to a national cohort of healthcare providers. Descriptive statistics and regression analysis were performed on quantitative data. Qualitative data were evaluated with open and axial coding.
536 healthcare professionals, predominantly nurses and physicians, completed the survey. Statistically significant positive correlations between mattering at work, meaning in work and engagement were identified. Mattering and meaningful work were found to be independent predictors of outcome variables in our regression models. A significant negative correlation was found between mattering at work and burnout (p< 0.01). Dominant themes in qualitative responses included relationships with patients and colleagues.
A perception of mattering at work is associated with lower levels of burnout is healthcare professionals. Affirming interactions with patients and other team members promote a sense of mattering.