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Fundamentals Of Nursing Essay

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The folowing is an essay of a nursing burnout.

Nursing Burnout


Burnout is not inimitable to the nursing profession but a clinical occurrence experienced across all nursing fields. It is characterized by depersonalization, emotional exhaustion, and a reduced sense of personal accomplishment (Kelly, Gee, & Buttler, 2021). Burnout is caused by protracted participation in an emotionally demanding and nerve-wracking situation in both work and life settings, signifying that burnout is not solely an occupational syndrome. According to labor force studies, burnout is usually regarded as a nursing ‘outcome,’ which endeavors to understand the impact of work settings and inputs on the outcomes in healthcare settings. However, these studies do not properly explain burnout itself, factors contributing to its development, what comprises it, and its wider effects on an individual, organizations, and patients. Therefore, this paper provides deeper insights into nursing burnout and its effects on healthcare.

Prevalence of Nurse Burnout

Nurse burnout is turning out to be an all-too-common occurrence and a threat to the United States healthcare and health. Nurses are extremely subject to burnout because of their specific relationship with patients and caregivers, which needs emotional involvement. According to research, approximately 70% of nurses recount feeling exhausted and burned out at some juncture during their nursing career (Shah et al., 2021). Additionally, studies approximate that most nurses encounter burnout; however, the prevalence and the slow onset of burnout vary among different nursing fields. The nursing profession is prone to experiencing burnout due to the nature of their environment since they are mostly involved in health promotion, patient care, disease prevention, and direct patient treatment. They spend most of their time attending to patients. According to a 2011 study, the prevalence of burnout among nurses providing direct care to patients in nursing homes was 37%, while 33% of the nursing burnout was among nurses working in hospitals (Shah et al., 2021). These findings reveal that nurses have a lot of work in nursing homes compared to hospitals.

Contributing factors to Nursing Burnout

Several factors contribute to nursing burnout. The pressure to accomplish at high levels from colleagues and patients, aggravated by changes in technology, poor sleep from a work shift, and a dearth of knowledge about emotional exhaustion are some of the supposed causes of increased rates of nurse burnout in the current healthcare settings. In addition, staff shortages, care acuity, personality hardiness, and long working shifts are the common causes of nurse burnout in healthcare (Garcia et al., 2019). Staff shortages are the biggest cause of nurse burnout; this is because it results to work overload, which occurs when the job demands surpass the nurses’ ability to accomplish. Nurses in such working environments tend to work long hours without having adequate time to rest. This usually results in physical, emotional, and mental breakdowns causing the nurse to be dissatisfied, have an increased rate of absenteeism.

Moreover, nursing responsibilities have increased throughout the last fifteen years because of technological advancement and documentation, making the nurse working environment highly stressful. The vast workload in healthcare facilities can cause nurses to feel exhausted or experience a loss of control. In addition, short nurse staffing in healthcare settings makes nurses have busier and more hectic days than when there is adequate staffing (Shah et al., 2021). Additionally, an expeditious workload in nursing units can cause nurses to feel stressed and exhausted, and this type of stress and exhaustion can result in nursing burnout.

Nurses who have long working hours and consecutive shifts usually suffer from lack of sleep, which is another largest risk factor for nursing burnout. According to research, twenty-five percent of nurses report having difficulties getting sufficient sleep between shifts. Nurses who report disturbed sleep, poor quality of sleep, and excessive reliance on sleep medication have a higher likelihood of experiencing burnout than those nurses who do not report any of these.

Symptoms of nursing burnout

Nursing working in stressful work environments usually present with symptoms that exhibit they are experiencing burnout. Nurses experiencing burnout normally resent their jobs and experience hopelessness about making changes. Since burnout affects a person’s cognition, symptoms such as incapability to focus or think clearly, struggling with remembering details, and the incapability to make decisions or even solve problems are signs that a nurse is experiencing burnout (Jun et al., 2021).

Nurses working in stressful environments such as the palliative care unit where they have to cope with sickness and death experience emotional baggage, which usually wears them down over time, causing burnout. Some of the emotional symptoms caused by such encounters include depersonalization, increased frustration or irritability, always feeling sad, feeling emotionally numb, and apathy (Nantsupawat et al., 2016). On the other hand, burnout can present physically as sleeping problems, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and behaviorally as substance abuse, high risk-taking behaviors, and reduced ability to work with other team members.

The above symptoms cause burnout to present in several different ways among nurses, and these may include social withdrawal where nurses experiencing burnout will frequently cancel plans, emotional exhaustion, sleep deprivation, constant sickness, and resentment of patients and physicians.

Impacts of Nursing Burnout

Nursing burnout is a detrimental and far-reaching syndrome affecting the individual nurses and the patients, and the organization where these nurses work. More than half the nursing workforce experiencing burnout has higher chances of job dysfunction, individual consequences, and possible risks to patients. Furthermore, because burnout is typified through typical symptoms of depersonalization, exhaustion, and decreased personal accomplishment, it is obvious that burnout influences the nurses’ intention of leaving their work positions (Kowalczuk, Krajewska-Kulak, & Sobolewski, 2020). Besides, most studies depict negative impacts of burnout on nurses, such as decreased quality of nurses’ life, performance levels, and a reduction in their commitment to the organization.

            Nursing burnout has also been associated with a rise in patient safety occurrences comprising medical errors, poor healthcare quality, and poorer safety ratings, decreased patient satisfaction, and increased mortality rates. Patient safety is the primary focus of nurses, but when nurses experience burnout due to stressful work environments and longer working hours, patient safety is affected (Garcia et al., 2019). This is because emotionally exhausted nurses tend to distance themselves from patients and have feelings of incompetence at work, reducing their likelihood of providing engaged and competent care. In other words, higher patient to nurse ratios results in poor patient health outcomes such as longer hospital stay.

            According to research, nursing burnout has significant impacts on organizational and job position turnover rates. Mentally and emotionally drained nurses usually have an increased intention to leave their jobs, which leaves the organization with a high patient ratio that it cannot handle as before; this affects the organization’s revenue (Kelly, Gee, & Buttler, 2021). Additionally, high nurse turnover rates affect the organization’s productivity since it cannot attend to as many patients as before due to the increased nursing shortage, which negatively affects the organization’s quality of care.

Prevention of nursing burnout

Addressing nursing burnout is vital to improving nurses’ well-being, morale, job satisfaction, low turnover rates, and increased nurses’ and organizations’ productivity. There are several ways a nurse or an organization can address nursing burnout. Improving the nurse-to-patient ratio is one of the most important actions organizations can take to address this issue (Dyrbye et al., 2017). In addition, increasing nurse staff reduces workloads as each staff only performs duties he/she can handle with ease. Involving nurses in work scheduling, training nurses on stress management, implementing support groups, reducing shift length, and involving nursing leadership are other ways organizations can address burnout. On the other hand, individual nurses can address burnout by engaging in physical activities such as yoga, putting themselves first, managing their stress and emotions, and only doing tasks they can at a given time.


Nursing burnout is a common phenomenon in healthcare systems today that, if not addressed, may continue to worsen to the disadvantage of nurses and patients alike. Researchers have identified the best ways to address this issue. It is time for healthcare organizations across the country to reduce burnout to increase their productivity, patient experience, and workforce engagement.


Dyrbye, L. N., Shanafelt, T. D., Sinsky, C. A., Cipriano, P. F., Bhatt, J., Ommaya, A., … & Meyers, D. (2017). Burnout among health care professionals: a call to explore and address this underrecognized threat to safe, high-quality care. NAM perspectives.

Garcia, C., Abreu, L., Ramos, J., Castro, C., Smiderle, F., Santos, J., & Bezerra, I. (2019). Influence of Burnout on Patient Safety: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Medicina, 55(9), 553.

Jun, J., Ojemeni, M. M., Kalamani, R., Tong, J., & Crecelius, M. L. (2021). Relationship between nurse burnout, patient and organizational outcomes: systematic review. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 103933.

Kelly, L. A., Gee, P. M., & Butler, R. J. (2021). Impact of nurse burnout on organizational and position turnover. Nursing Outlook, 69(1), 96–102.

Kowalczuk, K., Krajewska-Kułak, E., & Sobolewski, M. (2020). Working Excessively and Burnout Among Nurses in the Context of Sick Leaves. Frontiers in Psychology, 11.

Nantsupawat, A., Kunaviktikul, W., Nantsupawat, R., Wichaikhum, O. A., Thienthong, H., & Poghosyan, L. (2016). Effects of nurse work environment on job dissatisfaction, burnout, intention to leave. International Nursing Review, 64(1), 91–98.

Shah, M. K., Gandrakota, N., Cimiotti, J. P., Ghose, N., Moore, M., & Ali, M. K. (2021). Prevalence of and Factors Associated With Nurse Burnout in the US. JAMA Network Open, 4(2), e2036469.

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