Nurse Burnout and Stress in the NICU

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The effects of nurse burnout and stress in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)—high levels of absenteeism, low morale, mental fatigue, and exhaustion—can have detrimental effects on neonatal care. Because of the nature of this highly specialized form of nursing, NICU nurses can experience high levels of psychologic and physical stress. Burnout is a response to workplace stress that results in emotional and mental exhaustion, depersonalization, and decreased sense of personal accomplishment. Job satisfaction, emotional support, and self-care are important components for preventing burnout in staff. Therefore, the implications regarding practice and nurse burnout in the NICU are clear. It is the responsibility of both individual nurses and administrative leaders to take the necessary steps to prevent nurse burnout. Preventing this phenomenon in the NICU can lead to better retention and recruitment rates and delivery of safe neonatal care.

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