Professional burnout is a widespread phenomenon in health care. The health of patients and organizations begins with the well-being of health care professionals. Identifying and understanding self-care strategies that professionals perceive to be helpful is crucial to combat burnout.


To determine perceptions of self-care strategies to combat professional burnout among nurses and physicians in pediatric critical care settings.


This was a qualitative descriptive study with a phenomenological overtone. The study was conducted in a 20-bed pediatric intensive care unit and an 8-bed intermediate care unit of a children’s hospital in the United States. Information flyers and emails were used to introduce the study. A combination of convenience and purposive sampling methods was used to recruit participants who were full-time nurses and physicians in the 2 units. Information saturation was used to regulate sample sizes, resulting in 20 participants. Data were collected through a onetime face-to-face interview with each participant. A qualitative descriptive approach was used to analyze the data. The first author was the primary coder and discussed the codes with the coauthors throughout the coding process.


Six major self-care strategies were identified: finding meaning in work, connecting with an energy source, nurturing interpersonal connections, developing an attitude of positivity, performing emotional hygiene, and recognizing one’s uniqueness and contributions at work.


Developing effective self-care strategies helps promote health care professionals’ physical and psychological well-being and reduce burnout. It is vital for health care professionals to care for themselves so that they can best care for others.

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