Job Burnout and Associated Fatigue in Nursing

Introduction

Job burnout and associated fatigue are the problems that a number of modern healthcare facilities have to face. They cause stress and lead to a considerable decrease in work interest and motivation (Vermeir et al., 2018). Workload, in turn, is the reason for burnout among nurses (Koy, Yunibhand, Angsuroch, & Fisher, 2015). In this paper, special attention to a quantitative study developed by Hunsaker, Chen, Maughan, and Heaston (2015) about the role of demographic and work-related factors will be paid. The authors contributed to the discussion about compassion fatigue, burnout, and the outcomes of proper time management.

Study Background

Clinical/Research Problem

Many nurses suffered from job burnout and left their workplaces because of the intention to find better settings. The main clinical problem is the inability to control all the factors that determine burnout and fatigue among nurses (Koy et al., 2015). The main gap is that despite the awareness of burnout effects on nurses, hospitals still experience some of them without appropriate time management strategies (Vermeir et al., 2018). Therefore, the authors of the chosen quantitative study decided to underline the importance of specific factors.

Significance of the Study

The authors of the article explained the role of nurses in health care and focused on the conditions which may prevent the development of new stressors and challenges. Though the article did not directly answer the current PICO question, – if in a hospital setting, hiring more nurses can be more effective than time management strategies’ implementation for the reduction of nursing fatigue and burnout – it helped to create a general image of the problem, its causes, and outcomes.

Purpose of the Study

The peculiar feature of the study under analysis is its twofold direction. On the one hand, Hunsaker et al. (2015) determined the level of prevalence of nurses’ fatigue and burnout. On the other hand, they aimed to examine the factors that influenced the development of fatigue among American nurses. Both goals were equally important for the study and its further implementation.

Research Questions

  1. What is the prevalence of compassion satisfaction, fatigue, and burnout among nurses (Hunsaker et al., 2015)?
  2. How are age and gender (as the main demographic characteristics) associated with the prevalence of fatigue and burnout?
  3. How are educational experiences, years in nursing, and hours worked per week associated with the prevalence of fatigue and burnout?
  4. What is the extent to which demographic and work-related characteristics can predict fatigue and burnout problems among nurses?

The connection between the goals and questions of the study was evident. The authors identified the factors and discussed their relevance to a particular nursing environment. The questions helped to understand the goals and develop a plan to achieve them.

Study Methods

Benefits and Risks of Participation

The authors did not define the special benefits and risks of participation in their work. Still, it is possible to mention some of them for this analysis. The main benefit was the possibility to learn about personal strengths and weaknesses and identify if burnout was a problem for a nurse. The risk was associated with the necessity to share much personal information.

Informed Consent

An informed consent letter was defined as a part of the survey packet. It was mailed to each person individually so that potential participants could return with their answers. Therefore, it is possible to say that the informed consent letter was obtained from participants. The participation was voluntary, and the participants could withdraw anytime.

Variables

Several demographic independent variables like age and gender were identified. Work-related independent variables included the level of education, professional years, working hours per week, the length of shifts, and the level of manager support (Hunsaker et al., 2015). The main dependent variables were compassion satisfaction, compassion fatigue, and burnout.

Data Collection

All data for this study was anonymously gathered after each participant had approved his/her decision. In total, 1,000 nurses from the emergency department participated in the study. A survey included the ProQOL 5 scale and a list of demographic questions regarding the variables mentioned. There were 30 items in the survey with clearly identified independent work-related variables (Hunsaker et al., 2015). Reminder postcards were sent at 2- and 6-week intervals. It was the only information about time periods of research.

Data Analysis

The analysis of the data was developed in terms of the Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS), Pearson r correlation, t-test, and ANOVA. Standard deviations and medians were computed at the point of satisfaction, fatigue, and burnout (Hunsaker et al., 2015). Multiple regression was used to evaluate the relationship between demographic and work-related factors and minimize biased effects. No clear explanations were given concerning the reasons for such critical decisions.

Study Results

Findings’ Interpretation

The researchers interpreted their findings as a chance to contradict the already developed studies. For example, a low to the average level of fatigue and burnout was not inherent in the past studies (Hunsaker et al., 2015). In addition, it was discovered that modern nurses were busier and could undergo more serious stressors compared to the nurses of the 20th century. Therefore, the role of nurse leaders has to be re-evaluated.

Validity of the Findings

The chosen data collection and analysis methods proved the validity of the study. The lack of personalization and a clear recognition of factors were an accurate reflection of the reality. The offered analytical tools provided the reader with confidence in the findings and conclusions made.

Limitations

The small sample size was the main limitation of the study. In addition, it was hard to include and investigate all work-related conditions in one study. Finally, nurses’’ perceptions of satisfaction, fatigue, and burnout remained subjective.

Implications

The results of the study could be used for the development of new policies and programs to reduce the level of burnout and fatigue in nursing practice. Nurses could have different reasons for their fatigue, and their decision to leave or stay in a particular setting depends on many factors. Some of them were identified in the study and could be applied in the future.

Suggestions for Further Studies

The researchers admit that there were several ways to improve the present results. Additional exploration of coping strategies could be necessary for the study (Hunsaker et al., 2015). The experience of nurses could vary, and young nurses would have to share their opinions and knowledge to find effective solutions.

Ethical Considerations

The researchers had received approval from the Institutional Review Board of their university before any data was collected. Patient privacy was protected through a number of steps, including the creation of special codes and the removal of any identifying information. All ethical considerations were followed because each decision and step was made in accordance with the standards and rules of the Emergency Nurses Association.

Conclusion

In general, the effects of nurse burnout and fatigue cannot be ignored in research. This study is a good opportunity to investigate personal factors and time management aspects in nursing practice. The findings of the chosen article contributed to future projects because they proved that personal and professional aspects could determine nurses’ behaviors and decisions. The knowledge acquired shows that participants’ age, gender, and experience, as well as the organization of a working day influence nursing practice in a variety of ways.

References

Hunsaker, S., Chen, H.-C., Maughan, D., & Heaston, S. (2015). Factors that influence the development of compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction in emergency department nurses. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 47(2), 186–194. Web.

Koy, V., Yunibhand, J., Angsuroch, Y., & Fisher, M. L. (2017). Relationship between nursing care quality, nurse staffing, nurse job satisfaction, nurse practice environment, and burnout: Literature review. International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 3(8), 1825-1831. Web.

Vermeir, P., Blot, S., Degroote, S., Vandijck, D., Mariman, A., Vanacker, T., … Vogelaers, D. (2018). Communication satisfaction and job satisfaction among critical care nurses and their impact on burnout and intention to leave: A questionnaire study. Intensive & Critical Care Nursing. Web.