Hospital ethical climate associated with the professional quality of life among nurses during the early stage of COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan, China: A cross-sectional study

Wenjing Jiang, Xing'e Zhao, Jia Jiang, Qidi Zhou, Jiahui Yang, Yuqing Chen, Lloyd Goldsamt, Ann Bartley Williams, Xianhong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To describe the professional quality of life and explore its associated factors among nurses coming from other areas of China to assist with the anti-epidemic fight in Wuhan and especially examine whether the hospital ethical climate was independently associated with nurses’ professional quality of life. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was conducted from March 2020 to April 2020. The nurses working in Wuhan from the other parts of China were the target population. The Professional Quality of Life Scale version 5, the Hospital Ethical Climate Survey, and a basic information sheet were used to collect data. Descriptive statistics, t-test, ANOVA, Pearson correlation, and multiple linear regression analysis were used to analyze the data. Results: In total, 236 nurses participated in this study, and 219 valid questionnaires were analyzed. The average age of the participants was 31.2 ± 5.0 years. Most nurses were female (176/219; 80.4%) and married (145/219; 66.2%). In term of professional quality of life, nurses reported moderate (129/219; 58.9%) to high (90/219; 41.1%) levels of compassion satisfaction, low (119/219; 54.3%) to moderate (100/219; 45.7%) levels of burnout, and low (67/219; 36.0%) to high (10/219; 4.6%) levels of secondary traumatic stress. Regarding hospital ethical climate, nurses reported moderately high hospital ethical climates with an average score of 4.46. After controlling for socio-demographic characteristics, the multiple linear regression models showed that the hospital ethical climate subscale of “relationship with physicians” was independently associated with the compassion satisfaction (β = 0.533, P < 0.01) and burnout (β = −0.237, P < 0.05); the hospital ethical climate subscale of “relationship with peers” (β = −0.191, P < 0.01) was independently associated with the secondary traumatic stress. Conclusions: During the early stage of the pandemic, nurses demonstrated moderate to high level of compassion satisfaction, low to moderate level of burnout, and all nurses experienced secondary traumatic stress. Nurses perceived a high level of hospital ethical climate, and the perceived hospital ethical climate played an important role in promoting nurses’ professional quality of life during a life-threatening infectious disease pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-317
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 10 2021


  • China
  • Compassion fatigue
  • COVID-19
  • Nurses
  • Personal satisfaction
  • Professional burnout
  • Professional quality of life
  • Surveys and questionnaires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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