Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in Nursing

The theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs presents a five-tier model that can be applied to the nursing profession. The lowest tier is physiological needs: food, sleep, and shelter. In regards to nursing, it can be interpreted as the importance of maintaining physical well-being in the workplace. It is no secret that, at times, the workload at medical facilities is so daunting that nurses neglect healthy nutrition or suffer from sleep deprivation. To successfully meet the needs of the lowest tier, employees should be offered better schedules that include meal breaks.

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The next tier concerns safety, and for nurses, it may mean protection from bullying and aggression on the job. Therefore, a nursing leader should ensure security on the job. The third tier deals with the feeling of belonging to a valued group. It goes without saying that the medical field requires close teamwork. However, what is often dismissed is that building cohesion also benefits nurses at the individual level. Getting to know each other through a series of appropriate activities might be the way to go.

The fourth tier entails esteem needs – validation, acknowledgment, and a sense of accomplishment. These phenomena are directly tied to job satisfaction and should be promoted through personal interactions (Liu, Aungsuroch, & Yunibhand, 2016). Timely feedback and appraisal might be just what a nurse needs to feel valued in the workplace. Lastly, the highest tier of the hierarchy is self-actualization, which means the realization of a person’s full potential. Arguably, self-actualization is an individual task whose completion should not be shaped by external forces. At this level, a nurse should decide for him- or herself whether this profession or this particular position fits their vision.


Liu, Y., Aungsuroch, Y., & Yunibhand, J. (2016). Job satisfaction in nursing: A concept analysis study. International Nursing Review, 63(1), 84-91.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in Nursing." July 10, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in Nursing'. 10 July.

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