Creating a Pico Question About Burnout Among Nurses

Burnout in nurses is a critical issue for the U.S. healthcare system, especially nowadays, due to an increased strain on its services. The discussion of this topic has been ongoing for many decades, yet the conclusive answer on how to resolve or efficiently alleviate this problem remains open. The work at a hospital is often highly intense and stressful, creating one of the most susceptible populations of nurses that require immediate attention. The impact of burnout on the healthcare system is immense, as it leads to increased turnover rates and an overall decrease in the quality of care (Geuens et al., 2019). Numerous studies on burnout reduction have outlined several potentially applicable interventions, which will be analyzed from the chosen systematic review and quasi-experimental articles. This essay will assess the issue of burnout among nurses in hospitals, identify evidence for its solution, and draw a PICO question that must be answered in order to improve the situation.

It is necessary to assess the population for the question. Healthcare workers require workplace adjustments to protect their health, both mental and physical, during their work since its toll is immense. I chose hospital registered nurses as the target population for the PICO question due to the intensity of their work environment. Bakhamis et al. (2019) state that “the incidence of burnout in RNs has been shown to be as high as 70%” (p. 4). The very nature of their work poses severe issues with self-esteem that comes from often unappreciated efforts, disagreements with teammates or leaders, and negative patient interactions (Geuens et al., 2019). Moreover, the number of patients in hospital settings grows disproportionately faster than the number of nurses in these healthcare facilities, causing staffing issues that add stress (Bakhamis et al., 2019). In addition to these reasons, these nurses must adapt to the largest number of different care environments contained within a single institution. The PICO question that will be proposed by the paper will attempt to help with the selection of the most optimal solution for the sources of high stress.

There are several evidence-based solutions that present a valid choice for hospital nurses who are close to getting burned out from work. Many solutions deal with the issues described above, although some focus on more specific factors. One of the most explored options is social support and stress relief groups organized specifically for nursing personnel (Alenezi et al., 2019). Another popular intervention ushers hospitals to create recognition programs for nursing personnel through various rewards, both monetary and non-monetary (Bakhamis et al., 2019). Since teamwork is often listed as a major source of stress, its resolution is also prioritized by some proposed interventions through innovative leadership strategies or exercises focused on improving collaboration (Geuens et al., 2019). The change of perceptions on stressful situations is the additional focus of several interventions that propose self-management through personal exercises and meditation (De Oliveira et al., 2019). Social support programs that are contained within a single hospital and do not invite people who do not share similar experiences present the best opportunity for stress relief due to their efficiency (Geuens et al., 2019). This intervention will serve as an intended intervention for this PICO question.

Findings suggest that high levels of stress are detrimental to the quality of care and it may be difficult to pick the optimal program that helps with their reduction. In relevance to the PICO question, the evidence explored in this paper presents a dire necessity to choose the most efficient method of reducing stress among the target population. The outlined interventions differ in their efficiency and scope, requiring further investigation to ensure that there are no missed factors or opportunities for improvement. Recognition of achievements can decrease job dissatisfaction, yet it also introduces additional adverse factors, such as competition, while it also does not address teamwork adequately (Geuens et al., 2019). In turn, teamwork-oriented solutions can help with stress reduction by improving the work environment, but there are stress sources outside of nursing personnel that will remain excluded by this approach (Geuens et al., 2019). The choice of intervention for this question relies on more general problems.

There are issues that are expected to be resolved at least partially by the proposed intervention. The focus of the intervention among the chosen population is to reduce stress. However, there are other problems within that setting that can be resolved alongside high levels of stress. By creating local groups, hospitals can simultaneously increase teamwork among nursing personnel, as the level of organizational culture will increase through shared experiences. Moreover, since the stress levels of nurses affect the quality of care, it is expected that it will increase as well.

The evidence reveals that there is a strong need to decrease stress among nurses in an optimal way, yet not all methods are equally efficient. Stemming from this evidence, it is possible to generate a viable PICO question. Among nursing personnel working in hospital environments, how the introduction of localized social support groups can affect the stress levels of the chosen population in comparison with recognition programs, teamwork training, or self-management instructions? I believe that resolution of this issue must be prioritized through the following intervention since it has the highest support among the analyzed articles.

In conclusion, burnout is a critical issue that requires a complex approach unique to each local population of hospital nurses. The presented PICO question poses a valid solution for the population that appears to be the most affected by the selected issue. Social support groups are shown to be highly efficient in reducing stress among nurses and improving their teamwork by providing space to express concerns and work on improving the work environment.


Alenezi, A., McAndrew, S., & Fallon, P. (2019). Burning out physical and emotional fatigue: Evaluating the effects of a programme aimed at reducing burnout among mental health nurses. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 28(5), 1045-1055.

Bakhamis, L., Paul, D. P., Smith, H., & Coustasse, A. (2019). Still an epidemic: The burnout syndrome in hospital registered nurses. The Health Care Manager, 38(1), 3-10.

De Oliveira, S. M., De Alcantara Sousa, L. V., Vieira Gadelha, M. D., & Do Nascimento, V. B. (2019). Prevention actions of burnout syndrome in nurses: An integrating literature review. Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health, 15(1), 64-73.

Geuens, N., Franck, E., Verheyen, H., De Schepper, S., Roes, L., Vandevijvere, H., Geurden, B., & Van Bogaert, P. (2019). Vulnerability and stressors for burnout within a population of hospital nurses: A qualitative descriptive study. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, 53(1), 16-26.

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NursingBird. 2023. "Creating a Pico Question About Burnout Among Nurses." July 8, 2023.

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NursingBird. "Creating a Pico Question About Burnout Among Nurses." July 8, 2023.