Professional nurses burnout


Professionalnurses burnout


Burnoutis an emotional exhaustion resulting in the decrease of personalaccomplishment in the workplace. An emotionally drained professionalnurse finds it overwhelming to work to the point of being unable tomeet the demands of the job or engage with the other staff. Thisemotional draining results in the development of a negative attitudeat work with patients being at the receiving end. Cases ofprofessional nurses’ burnout have been on the rise recently andthus gaining attention due to the potential threat they pose to thequality of healthcare and safety of the patients. As a result, thereis a need to address the issue by tackling the cause of the problem.The various factors which cause high rates of professional nurses’burnout in the institutional setting include extended work shifts,dealing with sickness or the death of a patient, the nature of thenursing profession, inadequate staffing and resources, and unfriendlywork environment.

Professionalnurses’ burnout

Understandingprofessional nurses’ burnout.

Allnurses working in an institution setting are substantially at therisk of experiencing burnout. Burnout is a syndrome evident fromemotional exhaustion and results in the decrease of accomplishmentsin the place of work (Gasparino &amp Guirardello, 2015). Aprofessional nurse suffering from emotional exhaustion finds work tobe overwhelming to the point of being unable to meet the demands andexpectations of the job, unable to relate well with others, and aconstant feeling of fatigue (Lorenz &amp Guirardello, 2014). Theresult of burnout in the professional nurses is detachment from workwhile viewing the patients as objects. The professional nurses becomeineffective in practice posing a potential threat to the quality ofhealthcare and the safety of patients. The problem has become a greatchallenge, and there is a dire need to address it. There is a need tohave an understanding of the causes of the high rates of professionalnurses` burnout for an efficient addressing of the problem.

Causesof professional nurses burnout.

Severalfactors, independently or in combination, work together to result inprofessional nurses’ burnout. These potential risk factors includeextended work shifts, dealing with a patient’s death or sickness,the nature of the nursing profession, inadequate staffing andresources, and unfriendly work environment.

Extendedwork shifts

Theprimary source of fatigue among the nurse professionals is the longhours of work. In most cases, the nurses operate on a shift programwhich is in most cases irregular. Due to the shortage of the nurseprofessionals, some nurses find themselves being called on dutyduring off time because of the workload in the institution. Thenurses thus lack a regular timetable in which they can take breaksand relax from the tedious roles they undertake. These long workinghours result in not only fatigue but also high chances of errors asthey perform their duties. In the process, the nurses find the workoverwhelming because they fail to get an opportunity to take breaks.This fatigue over time results to burnout rendering the nurses highlyineffective in undertaking their roles at the workplace.

Patients’death or sickness.

Dealingwith the illness or death of a patient is a great source of burnoutamong the nursing professionals. As nurses tend to their patients,they develop an attachment easily. It becomes very emotional and sadfor a nurse to observe the health of a patient deteriorate yet theyundertake every measure to ensure the patient recovers. It is a grimreality for the nurses to face that some of the patients fail torespond to treatment and do not make it. On the other hand, there isa lot of pressure from the demands of the family members of thepatient. It is a sad reality that sickness and death are sometimesinevitable. However, people still have the expectations that apatient can live longer with better healthcare. When the inevitablehappens, for instance, the death of a patient, emotional grief, andbaggage can sometimes creep the personal life of a nurse professional(Gasparino &amp Guirardello, 2015). The emotional baggage creeps upbecause of lack of adequate time to decompress especially in theinstances where a nurse professional is subjected to continuous loss.The emotional grief coupled by the increasing demands from the familymembers of a patient could make the nurse find it overwhelming towork in such an environment. In the end, these factors result inburnout and detachment of the nurse from their duties.

Thenature of the nursing profession.

Theprofessional nurses are evidently selfless. It is in their nature toput the needs of other people before their personal needs. Thesenurses feel that it is a calling for them to take care of otherpeople while they are neglecting personal care. Unfortunately, nurseswho are fond of caring for other people selflessly face morevulnerability to burnout in the workplace (Lorenz &amp Guirardello,2014). The nurses develop vulnerability because of the particularroutine of caring for the patients for extended hectic working hours.At the point the nurses are free for a few hours, they also have afamily to look after and care for. Before they take time to take careand address their personal needs, they are back to the routine ofcaring for patients for extended and hectic work hours. Over time,the routine becomes overwhelming and one of the leading cause of highrates of professional nurses’ burnout.

Inadequatestaffing and resources.

Mosthealthcare institutions lack an adequate staff number and resourcesto take care of their nursing roles. This inadequacy results in highlevels of stress and burnout among the nurse professionals becausethey are unable to perform their duties well. The lack of resourcesfor effective performance of tasks prevents efficient performance ofroles while promoting inappropriate patient outcomes (Gasparino &ampGuirardello, 2015). When nurses are subjected to such a workenvironment, there is a negative impact on the well-being of thenurses’ both mentally and physically. On the other hand, lack ofadequate staff number results in stress and burnout among theprofessional nurses because they are unable to meet the high demandsof the work. The nurses find it hard to adequately undertake thegiven tasks leading to high rates of dissatisfaction and emotionalexhaustion at the workplace. The combination of these factors resultsin elevated levels of burnout among the nursing professionals.

Unfavorablework environment.

Professionalnurses have a lot of tasks to undertake and in a busy strenuousenvironment. The advancements in technology have also resulted in anincrease in the responsibilities and expectations of the professionalnurses. The workload has become too much for the nurses to handle andpotentially lead to the feeling of being overwhelmed. Again, the workenvironment for the nurses is always busy and hectic making them feelat a loss of control. The exposure to such kind of a work environmentleads to professional nurses’ burnout in the long run.


Variousscholars have undertaken studies to identify the leading causes ofprofessional nurses’ burnout in an institution setting. It is areality that due to economic challenges, the healthcare system hasundergone tremendous changes. The changes revolve around strategiessuch as restructuring and downsizing of the available staff. Therehas been laying off of the available personnel while significantlyaltering the nature of work for employees in a healthcare facility.The professional nurses have been widely affected due to the natureof their job in a hospital setup. Due to the ongoing changes,professional nurses find it challenging to cope with their job rolesbecause the expectation is that they provide high-quality health careservices at a considerably low cost.

Researchshows that many hospitals have insufficient staff to care for thepatients hence significantly increasing the workloads for nurses(Lorenz &amp Guirardello, 2014). The result of an increase inworkloads has been an increase in the level of stress among theprofessional nurses who find it overwhelming to perform their duties.As a consequence of the workloads, professional nurses are beingforced to work long shifts without breaks. The result of the longshifts and heavy workloads has been high rates of burnout among theprofessional nurses. The results of these research works show thatextended work shifts coupled by heavy workloads potentially leads toburnout among the professional nurses.

Itis a natural occurrence that at some point, the health of a patientdeteriorates or does not make it. The impact of such an occurrence isthe emotional draining of a nurse taking care of the patient. Such anurse requires an adequate time to take rest and recover from theemotional stress. Unfortunately, the number of professional nurses inan institution does not allow for such ample time for recovery of anurse resulting in high rates of burnout among the professionalnurses.

Itis natural that a nurse is viewed as caring and selfless. As aresult, there are high expectations of nurses to look after theirpatients even in it means neglecting their needs. Such cases areextensive with many nurses reportedly ending up in counseling andpsychiatric units. This kind of perception renders nurses susceptibleto high rates of burnout since they find it overwhelming to care forothers at the expense of their well-being.


Burnoutis a major challenge affecting the healthcare institution adversely.The professional nurses are mostly affected since they have manyroles in the hospital set up. The leading causes of professionalnurses’ burnout as evident in the paper are long shifts, the deathor sickness of a patient, the nature of the profession of nursing,inadequate staff and resources, and unfriendly work environment. Itis imperative to deal with the causes of professional nurses’burnout to come up with a lasting solution to the challenge.


Lorenz,V. &amp Guirardello, E. (2014). The environment of professionalpractice and Burnout in nurses in primary healthcare.&nbspRevisitLatino-Americana De Enfermagem,&nbsp22(6),926-933.

Gasparino,R. &amp Guirardello, E. (2015). Professional practice environmentand burnout among nurses.&nbspRevRene,&nbsp16(1),90-96.