Creating a healthy work environment (HWE) enables nurses to provide the highest standards of compassionate patient care while being fulfilled at work. In fact, AACN’s data consistently shows units that are implementing HWE standards outperform those that are not in many ways. These include the overall health of the work environment, better nurse staffing and retention, less moral distress and lower rates of workplace violence. Learn more about the six HWE standards, conduct a free assessment of your unit and find the evidence-based resources needed to build and sustain an HWE.

The Standards

AACN’s six essential standards provide evidence-based guidelines for success. The healthiest work environments integrate all six standards to help produce effective and sustainable outcomes for both patients and nurses.

Skilled Communication
Be as proficient in communication skills as you are in clinical skills.
True Collaboration
Be relentless in pursuing and fostering true collaboration.
Effective Decision Making
Be committed partners in making policy, directing and evaluating clinical care, and leading organizational operations.
Appropriate Staffing

Staffing must ensure the effective match between patient needs and nurse competencies.

Meaningful Recognition
Be recognized and recognize others for the value each brings to the work of the organization.
Authentic Leadership
Fully embrace the imperative of a healthy work environment, authentically live it and engage others in its achievement.

Benefits of Implementing Healthy Work Environment Standards

Workplaces that have actively implemented any of the six AACN Healthy Work Environment Standards (HWES) had superior results to those that have not.

Read the Report

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The Assessment Tool

You and your team can collectively measure the health of your work environment against the six standards.

Here’s how:

  • 1Check out the assessment tool. It’s quick and free! Just answer a few questions and your unit’s assessment survey tool is ready to go.

  • 2Send out the HWE survey. With our tool, send your team an email with a link to an anonymous online survey.

  • 3Download your HWE report. After completing the report, you and your team can collectively measure your work environment's current health against the HWE standards.

  • 4Take action. The report recommends steps and resources to help you start improving the health of your work environment and measure progress.

Create a free assessment

Anyone can create an assessment, and it's free.

Read the full standards

AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments: A Journey to Excellence