Type: Analysis
Pages: 3 | Words: 739
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Burnout Meaning

A burnout refers to a condition in which a person feels extremely tired, loses interest or gets frustrated at the workplace. Burnouts often results from prolonged stress. According to Newton, Handy and Fineman (2011), a burnout usually affects the level of performance of a person at the job. In the nursing profession, a burnout is usually associated with the stressful environments in which nurses work.

How to Define Nursing Burnout?

Shirey (2010) defines nursing burnout as a prolonged depletion of energy that results from job-related stress that is yet to be fully relieved. He further asserts that nursing burnouts may lead to both mental and physical illnesses. Moreover, nursing burnouts usually occur when the physical and emotional stress of a nurse gets beyond his or her control.

Causes of Nursing Burnout

Nursing burnouts usually result from job related stress. Extreme levels of stress at the workplace may develop due to exposure to dangerous work environments, lack of professional, financial, social and economic support at the workplace, poor interpersonal relationships between employees and employers, low pay or delayed remittance of salaries and changes in shifts for work.

In addition, nursing burnout may be caused by prolonged working hours and increased workload. Nurses who work under a lot of pressure from fellow colleagues or physicians have also reported suffering from burnouts. A nurse may also suffer from burnout due to frustrations that result from differences between realities at the workplace and his or her expectations before employment in the medical industry. According to Shirey (2010), nurses often suffer from burnout when the levels of internal stressors exceed the ability to cope with or adapt to the stressful conditions or situation at work.

Symptoms of Nursing Burnout Include

The major symptoms of nursing burnout include

  • prolonged depression;
  • lack of adequate sleep (insomnia);
  • loss of appetite;
  • high blood pressure;
  • fevers and headaches;
  • increased irritability or agitation;
  • addiction to drugs such as alcohol.

Additionally, patients suffering from nursing burnouts may also develop negative attitudes towards the job or nursing profession as a whole, workmates and other people such as family members who are around them. Patients of nursing burnout may also show lack of interest in doing the job or become emotionally detached from the workplace. Nurses suffering from burnouts may also have difficulties in concentration and lose focus at job. Maslach and Leiter (2011) assert that nurses who suffer from burnouts often become less productive at work.

Prevention of Nursing Burnout

Nursing burnout can be prevented through various strategies, which include development of coping and adaptive skills, developing high self-esteem, improving problem solving abilities and changing personal perception towards work-related challenges as well as developing high self-confidence.

Newton, Handy and Fineman (2011) advice that a nurse suffering from a burnout should also set realistic personal goals that are achievable, learn various mechanisms for coping with emotions and ensuring that he or she gets adequate relaxation. A nurse suffering burnout should also practice healthy lifestyles such as playing football, going to the gym or getting involved in other recreational activities with the aim of reducing stress levels. A patient of nursing burnout should also minimize stressors both at the workplace and at home.

Other Strategies for Reducing Nursing Burnout

Nursing burnout can also be reduced through creation of social support programs that help in reducing stress levels amongst nurses, for example, organizing social functions or meetings where nurses can meet and share ideas and experiences at their workplaces. Top management of healthcare institutions can also assist nurses suffering from burnout through provision of mentoring programs that would provide professional support to the nurses.

In my view, mentoring programs would help in boosting the morale of nurses as well as assisting them in professional development. Moreover, nurses may also be recognized and rewarded. This would help boost their self-esteems and work spirits. Nurses who achieve specific assignments should be praised and rewarded accordingly.

As Potter (2009) states, it is important for managers of healthcare institutions to provide supportive and healthy workplaces that reduce stress for nurses.

Last but not least, nurses suffering from burnouts should be given adequate guidance and counseling, for example, group classes for stress management techniques (SMT), psychological assistance and employee assistance programs (EAP). This would enable them to effectively cope with stress.


In conclusion, I would assert that nursing burnout often leads to poor performance at the workplace and professional dissatisfaction, hence should be avoided at all levels possible.

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