Testing burnout syndrome as a psychiatric disorder among nursing staff of different medical settings

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Abstract

Background

The high risk for professional burnout noted among nurses has led to a growing interest in the psychosocial work environment. The aim of this study was to discuss the importance of revising the nature of burnout as an illness to be considered in psychiatric classification and to find out the overall prevalence of work-related burnout symptoms and their risk factors among nurses of different departments.

Patients and methods

This cross-sectional study included 112 nurses: 45 working in psychiatry units, 34 in ICUs, and 33 in the internal medicine unit of the same hospital. The participants were assessed with the use of a questionnaire on their sociodemographic characteristics, workplace stress scale, and the Maslach Burnout Inventory.

Results

The nurse sample experienced high burnout, with a statistically significant difference between nurses from the three departments (P<0.001). Similarly, psychiatry nurses had an evidence of decreased emotional exhaustion as well as low depersonalization when compared with ICU and internal medicine nurses. Furthermore, depersonalization was high among ICU nurses despite high emotional exhaustion. Burnout was significantly associated with stress and other work-related factors.

Conclusion

Nurses in the selected three departments were vulnerable to burnout. It was significantly related to stress exposure, years of experience, work safety, job description, and absence of assistance.

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