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Nursing Burnout and the Effect on Patient Care, Research Paper Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1197

Research Paper

Problem Statement

The national shortage of nurses which has been a cause of significant concern in healthcare is a possible contributor to rising levels of burnout among nurses with considerable implications on patient care

Objectives of the Study

The study posits to evaluate the work environment for nurses and its connection to high burnout degree and the subsequent effect on their satisfaction and delivery of care to the patients.

Research Question

The research attempts to explore the contribution of the working environment for nurses to their levels of satisfaction and the consequences extended to the patient care.

Study Design and Variables

This study was based on cross-sectional surveys that were conducted in 40 units of 20 hospitals in the urban area of the United States involving 820 nurses and 621 patients. The important measures of consideration was the practice environment for the nurses on the basis of improved “Nursing Work Index”, NWI-R and the measurements of the nurses outcomes on the basis of “Maslach Burnout Inventory”, MBI. The study also involved conducting interviews to the patients in relation to their levels of satisfaction from the services of nursing care on the basis of” La Monica-Oberst Patient Satisfaction Scale”, LOPSS (Aiken & Patrician, 2000).

Keywords: burnout, work environment for nurses, patient satisfaction

Background of the Study

The implication of burnout in the workplace is the syndrome associated with emotional exhaustion, low levels of personal accomplishment and depersonalization. It is a manifestation of a feeling of being exhausted and overextension of work to an employee. A depersonalized employees lacks the appropriate feelings that guide personal response to the client and with respect to the nursing profession, impersonal response to service, care instructions as well as treatment are evident during depersonalization. Burnout is consequential to a reduction in personal accomplishments leading to unsuccessful achievements as well as incompetence in the workplace.

A popular measure of burnout, Maslach Burnout Inventory, MBI is successfully used in the determination of the extent of burnout and incorporates subscales that determine the three dimensions of burnout (Aiken & Patrician, 2000). The workloads for nurses workforce in hospitals is on an upward trend which has been consequential to  a critical shortage of nurses, high levels of patient acuity, limited support resources and limited time of hospital stay. The high degree of workload for the nurses is perceived as a serious motivating factor for their burnout and consequent job dissatisfaction. This therefore opens the door to voluntary turnover that in turn leads to a situation of understaffing the nurses and thereby patient outcome is adversely affected. Close to half of the nurses’ populations indicate job-related burnout and about 1/5 of the nurses have intention of terminating their services in the near future. Excessive workloads and nurses understaffing in health care is seen as a critical threat to the safety of patients in this profession. Majority of the patients have opted to be accompanied by their private caregivers during the stay in health facilities (Aiken & Patrician, 2000).

Studies addressing the problem of job-related burnouts among nurses point a finger at organizational stressors in work settings being the critical motivators of burnout that is consequential to voluntary turnover. Additionally, studies in patient satisfaction highlight the importance of high levels of satisfaction among the patients and the contribution satisfaction of nurses in good service delivery. The factors behind nurse burnout have been closely linked to patient dissatisfaction. The findings facilitate for a clear understanding of stemming nurses’ satisfaction and the satisfaction of the patient at the same time.

Significance of Study

  • This study will shed light on the prevalence of high workloads among nurses in national health care facilities.
  • The researcher also anticipates highlighting the relationship between the high degrees of workload and the level of dissatisfaction of the nurses leading to delivery of unsatisfactory health care to the patients.
  • The study also attempts to identify the relationship between nurses’ dissatisfaction and burnout and poor quality of care given to the patients. Consequently, the researcher extends to the body of research in this field with possible ways of overcoming the problem.

Quality Health Outcomes Model which is the framework of this research attempts to come up with modifiable feature of the hospital clinical organization environment that is likely to improve the working environment for nurses and the patients’ outcome. The effects of intervention in health care are mediated by organizational features in health care settings. Features associated with practice setting such as staffing adequacy, the autonomy of nurses, their characteristics and the relationship of the nurses to the physicians are significantly influential to the outcomes of the patients which are determined by the process of care. Important considerations in the process of care include the surveillance of the nurses, continued care, patient centeredness and the magnitude of preparation for the patients and the families of the patients manage the care of the patient on being discharged from the health care facility (Aiken, 2002).

Methods

The method used for this study involved a survey in which case a sample of staff nurses in health facility organization in addition to nurse staffing were subjected to the survey to determine the care outcomes of AIDs patients. Both RNs along with LPNs in the heath care facility were involved in this survey working in 2 units of the 20 hospitals that randomly dispersed in United States. More than 25 AIDS patients on admission in the 40 units during the time period of this survey were involved for participation. Out of the number of the nurses who were targeted to take place in the survey, 820 nurses accounting for 86% were able to complete the survey. The items of the questionnaire incorporated issues of personal features such as the level of burnout, the characteristics of unit hospital such as the attributes of work environment for nurses.

The survey also targeted 722 patients who were under admission at the time of the survey. Only 621 accounting for 86% of the targeted patients complied with participation in the survey. The patient participants gave substantial data of the level of satisfaction regarding nursing care, measures of care, their preferences of care and their medical history (American Nurses Association, 2000).

Results

The findings of the survey indicated that, the patients who were given care with regard to enhanced administrative support to the nursing care, sufficient staff and health relationship of nurses to the physicians reported a higher degree of satisfaction. The nurses in this setting also reported low levels of burnout; it was also evident from the survey that the extent of burnout among the nurses had significant effect on the satisfaction of the patients.

Conclusions

Improvements in the work environment for nurses in health care settings are likely to reduce significantly the levels of burnout in the nurses and reduce the rates of turnover. The same was proved to increase the satisfaction of patients.

Improvements in nurses’ work environments in hospitals have the potential to simultaneously reduce nurses’ high levels of job burnout and risk of turnover and increase patients’ satisfaction with their care.

References

Aiken, L.H., (2002). “Hospital nurse staffing and patient mortality, nurse burnout, and job dissatisfaction”. JAMA.;288:1987–1993.

Aiken, L.H., & Patrician, P.A., (2000). “Measuring organizational traits of hospitals: the revised nursing work index”. Nurs Res.; 49:146–153.

American Nurses Association, (2000). Nursing Quality Indicators beyond Acute Care: Literature Review. American Nurses Publishing; Washington, DC.

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