Essay Example on Nurse Burnout: Effects on Patient Outcomes

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1474 Words
Date:  2023-09-20


The clinical issue identified for this paper is nurse burnout. According to Tay, Earnest, Tan & Ng (2014), nurse burnout is the physical, psychological, emotional, and mental exhaustion of nurses. It usually leads to nurses' job dissatisfaction and impacts patient outcomes. Evidence shows that 31% of nurses in several European states experience emotional exhaustion, 15% experience depersonalization and 29% experience low personal accomplishment (Monsalve-Reyes, San, Gómez-Urquiza, Albendín-García, Aguayo & Cañadas-De, 2018). Another study done in Singapore seeking to establish burnout levels of the nurses found that 33.3% of the nurses in the country were experiencing burnout due to long working hours (Tay et al., 2014). The above studies were consistent with another study in the United States (US), a nationwide survey in 2016. According to the study, in the US, one in every three nurses have burnout syndromes (Dyrbye, Shanafelt, Johnson, Johnson, Satele & West, 2019). Therefore, nurse burnout is indeed a serious nursing problem that needs appropriate interventions to enhance nurses' and patients' satisfaction. There are many types of burnout interventions that have been provided by research. In this paper, a nurse burnout intervention will be provided by critiquing an evidence-based practice (EBP) clinical research.

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Understanding of the EBP Clinical Research

The shortage of healthcare providers has been a global concern in the world for many years. Notably, there has been a shortage of nurses, and this has compromised and interfered with countries’ and international efforts of improving the health and well-being of the people. The shortage of nurses usually results in nurse burnout due to long working hours in an attempt to help the patients. The nurse burnout usually results in a lack of motivation, feeling frustrated, reduced work efficacy, and emotional exhaustion that makes the working environment for nurses unbearable. Therefore, nurse burnout has detrimental impacts on nurses, healthcare organizations, and patients in general. Evidence also shows that nurses with burnout also exhibit loss of attention to details and memory of remembering which result in medical errors, which in turn affects the quality of care provided to patients (Dyrbye et al., 2019). Due to burnout, nurses are also psychologically detached from work, which makes them have an aggressive attitude towards the patients and even their colleagues. As a result, patient satisfaction is affected, and also the healthcare providers' relationship and communication deteriorate, affecting the collaboration of the care team, and hence the quality of healthcare delivered to patients is compromised in the process. Nurses are even cutting down their working hours or even planning to retire early due to burnout. This has resulted in a reduced number of nurses leading to increased workload, which has increased burnout problems. Although nurse burnout is a major nursing problem as it affects all the stakeholders from nurses to the patients, research has shown that burnout interventions are enhancing the physical and the mental health of healthcare providers, thus reducing medical errors and enhancing patient satisfaction (Gyllensten, Andersson & Muller, 2017).

The intervention that has been proposed by Gyllensten et al. (2017) is reducing the number of working hours for nurses and their assistants at healthcare organizations. According to this study, the shortage of registered nurses in the European Union has led to job dissatisfaction leading to a high turnover of nursing staff. The study's objective was to find out if the reduction of working hours of nurses and their assistants could have a positive outcome on job satisfaction, willingness to work for a longer period, and promote work-life balance.

The study population was 117 nurses and assistant nurses working in a certain orthopedic surgery department in Sweden (Gyllensten et al. 2017). The orthopedic surgery department was selected because it is always busy, and therefore, nurses and assistant nurses in the department are overworked. The 117 participants were invited to participate in the study through letters from the researchers. If the participant agreed to participate in the study, he or she was invited for an interview on their experience of reduced working hours in the department. Out of the total number of people invited, only 12 (10%) of them confirmed that they would participate in the study, but only 11 were interviewed (Gyllensten et al., 2017). Eight of the participants were nurses, while three were assistant nurses. Gender-wise, there was one male and ten females, and the aged ranged from 28years to 61 years, giving a mean age of 45 years.

The study was done by first sending letters of invitation to 117 nurses and assistant nurses in a certain Orthopaedic surgery department in Sweden. Semi-structured interviews were carried out to collect the data from the 11 nurses and assistant nurses who affirmed and presented themselves for the interviews. The semi-structured interviews were carried out in the organization during the working hours from November to December 2015 (Gyllensten et al., 2017). Two authors conducted the interviews, and it took around twenty-five to fifty-five minutes. For confidential reasons, the nurses were assigned a letter for identification reasons, and then the interviews were transcribed and tape-recorded. The transcripts were numbered with the participant's number to differentiate the participants' experiences with reduced working hours at the department (Gyllensten et al., 2017).

The study results had four main themes that were led by reduced working hours of nurses and assistant nurses with no lunch breaks. The four themes included improved quality of health care, improved consequences of being part of the care team, enhanced work-life balance, and a more sustainable work environment (Gyllensten et al., 2017). Due to the lack of fatigue, nurses can utilize the hospital's resources well, avoiding medical errors, and improve their overall performance. In turn, this improves the quality of care provided by the nurses and assistant nurses to patients following reduced working hours. The reduced working hours with no lunch breaks improve work-life balance and led to a more sustainable work situation as the nurses, and assistant nurses had more time to spend out of work, and thus, they got enough time to rest and reflect on their ability to deliver outcome-based care to patients (Gyllensten et al., 2017).

The findings of this study can be useful in the field of nursing practice. It has shown to improve the working experiences of nurses and assistant nurses and enhance the quality of care delivered to patients (Gyllensten et al., 2017). However, it is yet to be implemented in many healthcare organizations worldwide because of the shortage of nurses and assistant nurses in many organizations. Many health organizations have instead shifted from the eight-hour shifts for nurses to twelve-hour shifts, and then nurses are allowed to work for only three days per week. The three-day schedule is more flexible and provided a better work-life balance for nurses. Therefore, although the findings of the study of shortening working hours have shown improved working experiences of nursing, better work-life balance and improve quality of care, it is yet to be incorporated into the nursing practice due to the presence of other schedules and shortage of nurses and assistant nurses in many health organizations worldwide. However, although the exact project of this study has not been incorporated in hospitals, the 12-hour shift for three days a week has reduced working hours, which has improved the performance of nurses and the quality of care provided to patients (Dyrbye et al., 2019). Additionally, the schedule has also provided flexibility and better work-life experience to all nurses and other healthcare providers.


In conclusion, nurse burnout has resulted in many problems such as reduced job satisfaction of nurses leading to increased turnover rates, increased medical errors, and poor quality of care provided to the patients. Since burnout results from the long working hours of nurses and other health care providers, shortening the hours worked per week will improve the experience of nurses and improve the quality of care delivered to the patients. The clinical research study has therefore presented a good intervention for nurse burnout issues, and although it has not been incorporated in the nursing practice, it can still improve the experience of nurses and the quality of healthcare they deliver to all patients.


Dyrbye, L. N., Shanafelt, T. D., Johnson, P. O., Johnson, L. A., Satele, D., & West, C. P. (2019). A cross-sectional study exploring the relationship between burnout, absenteeism, and job performance among American nurses. BMC nursing, 18(1), 57.

Gyllensten, K., Andersson, G., & Muller, H. (2017). Experiences of reduced work hours for nurses and assistant nurses at a surgical department: a qualitative study. BMC nursing, 16(1), 1-12.

Monsalve-Reyes, C. S., San Luis-Costas, C., Gómez-Urquiza, J. L., Albendín-García, L., Aguayo, R., & Cañadas-De la Fuente, G. A. (2018). Burnout syndrome and its prevalence in primary care nursing: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC family practice, 19(1), 59.

Tay, W. Y., Earnest, A., Tan, S. Y., & Ng, M. J. M. (2014). Prevalence of burnout among nurses in a community hospital in Singapore: a cross-sectional study. Proceedings of Singapore Healthcare, 23(2), 93-99

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