UArizona College of Nursing Class of 2021: Chloe Littzen

April 21, 2021

When she was a child, Chloe Littzen was diagnosed with a chronic health condition. The harrowing experience was a big factor in her decision to pursue a career in nursing and her eventual selection of pediatrics as a specialty. “I ended up caring for the children who were most like me as a child in the hospital and in the community,” she says.

Littzen, who also holds associates, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, will earn her PhD in nursing with a minor in integrative health, in May, 2021. She chose the University of Arizona College of Nursing to pursue her PhD because of positive stories from alumni who had obtained their PhDs from the College. “I looked at several different programs, but ultimately it was the faculty that drew me to UArizona alongside the rigorous online format that wouldn't restrict me to one geographical area,” she says.

“The faculty, my colleagues, and the learning opportunities have all been amazing. My PhD has been such a rewarding experience and I am grateful for the opportunity every day," ~ Chloe Littzen, MSN, RN, AE-C, PhD Candidate

Littzen describes her time at UArizona Nursing as life-changing. “I wouldn't have changed a thing about my experience,” she says. “The faculty, my colleagues, and the learning opportunities have all been amazing. My PhD has been such a rewarding experience and I am grateful for the opportunity every day.”

When she has her diploma in-hand, she will enter the workforce strengthened by the knowledge that nothing can be accomplished alone and that only through teamwork can success be truly earned. “I think collaboration and seeking information from your peers are integral to success and also your well-being within doctoral education,” she says. “That takeaway shapes how I interact in life and work every day.”

One of Littzen’s most important achievements during her time in the program is her timely dissertation study, "Young Adult Nurse Work-Related Well-Being, Contemporary Practice Worldview, Resilience, and Co-Worker Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic." Last year she was awarded a $1,000 PhD Student Research Grant to pursue her study, which was inspired by her experience working as a bedside nurse in a busy pediatric intensive care unit.

Chloe Littzen (R) with her faculty advisor, Dr. Pamela Reed

“Young adult nurses, defined as currently practicing nurses between the ages of 18-30, have the most suboptimal work-related well-being, highest turnover intentions, and the lowest overall job satisfaction across practicing nurses,” Littzen says.

“I chose this topic because as a new graduate, and later a novice young adult nurse, I practiced within the critical care environment and ultimately experienced diminished well-being and burnout,” Littzen says. “This experience inspired me to assist young adult nurses to understand and advocate for their well-being, as well as work towards the development of strategies to prevent negative consequences of suboptimal well-being in the workplace.”

In the course of her research, Littzen learned that it is primarily systemic issues in healthcare that negatively impact young adult nurses' work-related well-being. “There appears to be a misalignment between the way the young adult nurse perceives nursing within the American healthcare system and the way that system expects nurses and nursing to be or act,” she says, pointing out that young adult nurses experience significant levels of moral distress and have suboptimal work-related well-being placing them at risk for burnout, severe fatigue, poor quality of life, patient care errors, and intent to leave. “Future research is needed to examine the moral dimensions of young adult nurse work-related well-being,” she says.

When her time at UArizona Nursing has concluded, Littzen will have fond memories of her College experience – ones that center around the joys of human interaction, something many have yearned for during the travails of COVID-19. In particular, she recalls attending the 2019 Nursing Theory Annual Conference at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, when she joined her advisor, Dr. Pamela Reed, and her colleague Dr. Carrie Langley, for Italian food after the last day of the conference. “We got to talk about life, nursing theory – one of my favorite things! – our plans for the future, and just enjoy being present with each other. It was so nice to be together with both of them in person and just be humans for a bit.”

Speaking of the future, Littzen’s immediate plans after her rigorous studies are to take the summer off, spend time with her loved ones and practice a lot of yoga. After that, she intends to work towards publishing some papers from her dissertation. In the fall, she will be teaching at the University of Portland School of Nursing, where she hopes to develop a proposal for her next study – an examination of the moral dimensions of young adult nurse work-related well-being. Her desire to make in a difference in the world of nursing doesn’t stop there, though. She says, “Additionally, I am working on developing an undergraduate nursing yoga program to help future young adult nurses learn how to care for themselves in a safe community setting prior to entering the workforce.”

Read more about Chloe Littzen’s research surrounding nurse burnout during COVID19 here.