Burnout in Nursing Sample Paper

Burnout in Nursing Sample Paper.

Burnout in Nursing

Name of Student

Institutional Affiliation


Burnout in the Nursing Field


Burnout is a reality in the nursing field, and it is an issue that not only affects nurses but also has a direct impact on patients care and mortality. (Aiken, 2002) Different studies have revealed alarming statistics based on the rate of nurses’ burnout in their careers and the risk factors which predispose nurses in the workforce to burnout. A lot of research and information is available to help support nurses in ways that are also beneficial to patients in that when nurses are supported at work, they find it easy and refreshing to care for patients. A study that was conducted by the Mayo Clinic found that more than 50% of American physicians and nurses now have at least a sign of burnout.

 Burnout has been defined as emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion that is caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It affects patient outcomes and leads to job dissatisfaction for nurses. The aim of this review is to understand the causes of burnouts in the medical profession and mitigate its effects not only on physicians and nurses but also on patients. To understand burnouts, we need to look at the risk factors as well as the dangers of nurse burnout and the remedies that could help prevent and control it. Hebert Freudenberger first used the term burnout in 1974 to describe symptoms he personally experienced and later on in the 1990s professional compassion fatigue was used to describe the weariness that health care providers experienced after exposure to suffering, seriously ill and dying patients.

Causes of Burnout

Burnout in nurses is caused by various organizational factors, and an understanding of these factors can help mitigate burnout in the nursing profession. In many instances, the role nurses play continually expands and encompass the bedside to the waiting room, among others. With an increase in roles, the stress and busyness of the profession can become weary because nurses are always on the frontline for direct medical care, patient education and comforting the patients as well as their families. These combined responsibilities can result in burnout without the nurse realizing early enough.

 Another reason why nurse’s burnout is because of understaffing and studies have shown a cycle of nursing staff shortage, the main reason why this causes burnout is that understaffing leads to unevenly distributed and excessive workloads for the nurses who serve in various medical facilities. (Gutsan, 2018) Work stress level can easily escalate for such nurses because they have to deliver quality care with a high patient to nurse ratio, and this can be overwhelming. Moreover, in the United States nurses claim that pressures associated with working together as a group are the number one cause of stress among them. Such pressures include tension, conflicts, and poor communication. Over 79% of nurses in America state pressure from working in groups as a major cause of burnout but I think this study has some limitations because it focused more on group work than individual aspects of burnout.

 Studies done in other parts such as India reveal that nurse’s stress level increase when they are unable to finish their work on time while in Iran nurses claim that job duality and the job environment can easily cause burnouts. Most importantly, the nursing profession involves a lot of care, and so nurses feel the need to put others before themselves hence paralleling the profession with selflessness. Sadly, when nurses are motivated by an innate desire to help others rather than the enjoyment of work, they easily burnout because nurses deal with many and different patients every day. It is important to note that when the nurse to patient ratio is almost balanced, then a few aspects of burnout will surface among healthcare professionals.

Risk Factors for Nurse Burnout

Nurse burnout is real, and it is affecting the nursing profession. However, understanding the risk factors can help nurses to seek help early to avoid burnouts. To begin with, women are at a higher risk of burnouts because they often have more responsibilities at home and at work, when this is coupled with their higher levels of anxiety as compared to men the chances of burnout becomes possible. Also, the closer a nurse is to the patient the higher the risk of burning out, and this is because working full-time at the bedside can be exhausting mentally and physically than working in other areas of medical care. Every risk factor to some percentage relates to the nurse to patient ratio, and so they are all linked in some way that is unique to every healthcare provider.

Besides, other environments such as the ICU or ER are high-stress environments which drain nurses emotionally and involve long working hours; hence, such environments easily predispose nurses to burnouts. (Wang, 2015) In addition, being single or divorced while lacking spiritual conviction of any kind is a risk factor that can lead nurses to burnout, this is, however, relative to individual nurses as it reflects on the personal lives of nurses which can increase stress level in their personal as well as professional lives. Spirituality can help nurses reduce the emotional burden of the profession as well as assist them in maintaining a good work/life balance which is important to get satisfaction and fulfillment from work. From the review of various literature sources, nurse’s involvement in causing burnout has not been clearly illustrated and discussed, and maybe this plays a big role in managing burnout in the medical profession.

Understanding Burnout

Burnout has been viewed as synonymous to stress, but clear differences exist between the two, and it is important to understand and clarify the difference so as to ensure that effective measure is taken to prevent more serious conditions of burnout flooding the nursing profession. Stress is a feeling of being overwhelmed by tasks, and one feels that once the task is completed, they will feel better. Burnout, on the other hand, involves the feeling that whatever a nurse does, it will never be enough to fix a certain problem and this can be exhausting especially in the nursing field that requires good patient outcomes. As stated earlier that more than half of clinicians have reported at least one symptom of burnout, these burnout rates are higher on clinicians who rated their leaders unfavorably hence showing that there is a connection between leadership and nurse burnouts. The studies show the importance of organizational leadership on the well-being of clinicians

 Several other characteristics are tagged to burnout in nurses, and these include loss of motivation, dull emotions, disengagement from work and even personal life as well as feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. (Lee, 2017) Also, some nurses experience depression as a sign of burning out, and this can have devastating effects on the life of the nurse as a whole. Nurses start out their careers with enthusiasm but end up broken and dissatisfied individuals who want other careers. Nurse’s play a key role in providing healthcare and since nurses are increasingly reaching breaking points it is critical that healthcare providers find methods of dealing with and mitigating burnout. The three key signs of burnout include emotional exhaustion, lack of personal accomplishment and depersonalization which involves a nurse becoming numb to emotions. Various consulting companies have released reports on healthcare market research that proves the stressors mentioned above contribute to high rates of nurse burnouts of up to 65% for new nurses. Various problems arise when understanding burnout in nurses and they include the safety of patients as well as the quality of medical care in that if the rates of nurse burnout are increasing, then it affects the quality of care services as well as patient safety.

Dangers of Nurse Burnout

Nurse burnouts pose a threat and have far-reaching consequences in the medical profession. The stress originating from long working hours and infrequent breaks can lead to reduced motivation among nurses, slow reaction times, as well as increased errors. Burnouts can even increase the rates of infection in patients and all this impact the quality of patient care as well as the satisfaction of patients. Also, as the population of different nations continues to age nurse burnout will lead to future shortage of nurses at a time when future-ready workforce in nursing is essential. Primarily nurse burnout can cause more problems than solutions because of the higher risk of hospital-acquired infections it poses to patients when nurses are not as keen or engaged in their work.

Prevention and Remedies to Nurse Burnout

To prevent nurse burnouts hospitals should incorporate nurse to patient ratio as advocated by the different regulatory authorities, this would deal with the issue of understaffing which directly give nurses heavy workloads and hence high-stress levels which causes burnout. Moreover, stress management techniques should be taught to patients so that they can have more immediate relief when they are at work and feel burned out. (Frögéli, 2018) These stress relief techniques and should be taught during orientation to prepare the nurses for whichever challenge they any face later in their career. On the other hand exercises can go a long way in helping nurses reduce levels of depression and perceived stress on top of improving their health as a whole. It is only possible for nurses to get time for exercise if they do not work for long hours with little time to themselves hence shift hours should be reduced for nurses. Also, nurses should be provided with debriefing exercises on a regular basis especially after traumatic events such as those in ICU and ER environments. (Nowrouzi, 2015) Most importantly, since burnout is mostly a mental thing tools for mental awareness should be provided to nurses to enable them to detect the signs of burnout and seek remedies early before it becomes severe. Lastly, some online tools such as the nurse well-being index should be used by healthcare providers as a free resource to validate fatigue and burnout among nurses. When these remedies and preventive measures are employed fatigue and emotional exhaustion among nurses will be reduced, and nurses will get to enjoy a good work/life balance as well as job satisfaction to the benefit of all patients and healthcare as a whole. Mentoring programs are vital to helping nurses avoid burning out and fatigue because it shows they are not alone in whatever they go through.


In healthcare, nurses hold a transformative role, and they are responsible for bringing changes that may benefit or put patients at risk of unsatisfaction and low-quality care. Burnouts among nurses have been on the rise, and it affects both nurses and the patients they care in a massive way, it is for this reason that understanding the causes and symptoms of burnouts is essential for the healthcare professional to be able to detect and mitigate the impact burnout has on medical care and the lives of individual nurses. It is up to nurses and other healthcare stakeholders to make changes both professionally and personally so that nurses can be cared for and in turn benefit patient care. It is why remedies and prevention of nurses burning out are critical. I agree that burnout in nurses is hugely caused by the type of organizational leadership, but at the same tie nurses have some role to play as they also predispose themselves to burnout by several behaviors. A good understanding of the psychology of stress especially for those in the medical field, can go a long way into helping nurses and physicians avoid burnout.


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Schroyer, C. C., Zellers, R., & Abraham, S. (2016). Increasing registered nurse retention using

mentors in critical care services. The health care manager, 35(3), 251-265. 

Gutsan, M. S. H. A., Patton, J., Willis, W. K., & PH, C. D. (2018). Burnout syndrome and nurse-to-patient ratio in the workplace.

Wang, S., Liu, Y., & Wang, L. (2015). Nurse burnout: Personal and environmental factors as predictors. International journal of nursing practice21(1), 78-86.

Lee, C. J. (2017). The struggle is real: understanding and creating solutions for nurse faculty burnout.

Frögéli, E., Rudman, A., Ljótsson, B., & Gustavsson, P. (2018). Preventing stress-related ill health among newly registered nurses by supporting engagement in proactive behaviors: development and feasibility testing of a behavior change intervention. Pilot and feasibility studies4(1), 28.

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