This study will seek to establish the factors behind high cases of burnout syndrome in the nursing profession and the implications therein.
The concept of work-related stress has been studied widely since the 1950s. Consequently, work-related stress has been recognized as an epidemic that is widespread across all occupations. However, some occupations are susceptible to a higher level of work-related stress than others (Thanacoody, Bartram & Casimir, 2009). Since the mid-1990s, numerous radical changes have been observed in health care systems. These changes are geared towards a lean workforce due to economic constraints. As a result, poor pay and increased workload have become a common phenomenon in the nursing profession. The above conditions eventually accelerate levels of work-related stress (Malliarou, Moustaka & Konstantinidis, 2008). Noticeably, without effective coping strategies, work-related stresses my eventually lead to nursing burnout (Thanacoody, Bartram & Casimir, 2009). Against this backdrop, this study will seek to establish the factors behind high cases of burnout syndrome in the nursing profession and the implications therein.
On the same note, the concept of occupational burnout has gained considerable attention in recent years. The term ‘burn out’ was first mentioned by Freudenberger in 1974. Freudenberger underscored that; burnout was a condition whereby professionals in social service professions (e.g. clinical) experienced feelings of exhaustion and failure; thus end up becoming inoperative (Thanacoody, Bartram & Casimir, 2009). Correspondingly, researchers in the nursing field have speculated that prolonged stress, coupled with an unstable health care environment escalates burnout cases among nurses. On this note, burnout has been recognized as a looming disaster whose implications might invite far-reaching effects on the health care system (Malliarou, Moustaka & Konstantinidis, 2008). Likewise, the condition has been associated with negative implications such as reduced job performance, low work morale, high job turnover, increased cases of absenteeism, loss of productivity and sluggishness at work. Moreover, the condition might have far-reaching effects on an individual’s physical, emotional, mental, and psychological well-being (Malliarou, Moustaka & Konstantinidis, 2008). Needless to say, nursing burnout is an escalating condition that calls for immediate redress owing to the vital role of the nursing profession in society.
Accordingly, the concept of burnout has been termed as a multifaceted phenomenon that impacts negatively on the individual and institutions. The price of nursing burnout is too costly both for individuals and institutions (Thanacoody, Bartram & Casimir, 2009). Consequently, numerous variables have been examined to establish their interrelationship and their contribution to burnout. These variables have been drawn from a wide pool of possibilities ranging from, work-related, personality traits and demographic factors.
Furthermore, the current research will be founded on three hypotheses namely;
H1 Work-related factors have a positive role in nurses burnout
Numerous researches on this phenomenon have examined the relationship between workplace environment and burnout. Most of these researches have identified several job-related factors such as; long working hours, enormous workload, the conflict between personal and organizational values and unfair treatment as the most probable causes of nursing burnout (Thanacoody, Bartram & Casimir, 2009).
H3 Negative personal characteristics factors may attract burnout
Malliarou, Moustaka and Konstantinidis (2008) underscore that some individuals seem to be more immune to stressful situations than others. Therefore, some nurses may experience burnout, while others remain composed even in similar environments. This implies that personal characteristics have a role to play in determining how an individual handles work-related stress. Although this concept has been frequently ignored in research, personality trait factors such as; self-esteem issues, intolerance, empathy, and the degree of conscientiousness have been attributed as key determinants of whether an individual will experience burnout syndrome.
H2 There is a significant relationship between a nurse’s age and burnout
Similarly, several types of research have examined the relationship between demographic variables and burnout syndrome. On this note, demographic factors such as; age, gender, level of education, advancement in career, and marital status contribute significantly to an individual’s profession (Thanacoody, Bartram & Casimir, 2009). This hypothesis is founded on the notion that young nurses who are new in the profession are most likely to experience burnout as compared to older nurses who are advanced in their careers.
Malliarou, M, M., Moustaka, E, C. & Konstantinidis, T. C. (2008). Burnout of Nursing Personnel in a Regional University Hospital. Health Science Journal, 2(3):140- 152.
Thanacoody, P.R., Bartram, T. & Casimir, G. (2009). The effects of burnout and supervisory social support on the relationship between work-family conflict and intention to leave: A study of Australian cancer workers. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 23 (1):.53-69.