Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Joyce P. Miller, DNP, RN

Second Advisor

Deborah Schuhmacher, DNP, RN

Third Advisor

Kristin McHale, DNP, RN


As health systems work to save lives and prevent death, it is vital to recognize the resulting stressors upon health care workers (HCWs) and seek ways to reduce stress and improve health for all. Health care workers are exposed to the crisis of their patients resulting in accumulating stressors, rising mental health concerns, and suicidality. Self-care practices can reduce stress and improve well-being. This project supported the well-being of peer mental HCWs in Midwestern settings through conversations about self-care. A psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) utilized experiences, theory, and literature to develop a project model, conversations, and surveys about self-care for peer mental HCWs. The conversations and surveys provided the PMHNP insights and served as an opportunity to reflect on well-being practices. Eight peer mental HCWs across four mental health systems shared similar stressors. Self-care was defined differently among these HCWs, yet each described theirs as a journey. All felt their well-being depended on their follow through with self-care, yet feeling supported and comfortable talking about stress and self-care with co-workers was limited. Peer conversations can support HCWs’ well-being, so they are well when taking care of others. As a PMHNP, being a presence of wellness for others through conversations and by exemplifying what self-care means can create an energy of well-being for all.


SC 11.DNP.2024.Nachtsheim.K