To identify the situations that create pleasure and suffering in the care of the elderly institutionalized in the nursing workers' perspective.
Exploratory, descriptive and qualitative study, held with professionals of a Long-Term Care Institution for Elderly People (LTCI). The data were subjected to content analysis and to the Dejours' Theory of Psychodynamics of Work.
The pleasure is on the recognition of workers by the senior people, in contribution to the clinical improvement of these and the creation of bonds between all of them. The suffering is experienced by professionals in face of family estrangement, the functional decline of the elderly, which leads to their death and for living with the resistant behaviors of these.
The nursing workers in LTCI experience mixed feelings. It stands out the reinterpretation of suffering as a way to achieve balance in the relationship between work-health-illness.
Nursing; Long-Term Care Institution for elderly people; Worker's health; Job satisfaction; Psychological stress