Cic edizioni internazionali
Prevention and Research

Burnout and its components: a comparison of critical care unit nursing and ward nursing

Original Article, 53 - 58
doi: 10.11138/PER/2013.2.2.053
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Abstract
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Background: burnout discomfort affects especially the health care workers so-called “helping professions”, professions that require special skills and a strong propensity to human relation and empathy, in which take over, moreover, a high level of
emotional burden. The comparison to the base of this study concerns the nursing sphere, in particular the two large groups in which care is divided: general ward nurses and nurses working in the critical care unit.
Objectives: the aim of this study was to estimate the burnout level with its components and work-related stress factors, in the critical care unit nurses; later on to compare the condition of the critical care unit nurses with that of general ward nurses
(surgical, medical and paediatric areas), analyzed in a previous study.
Methods: the sample consisted of 100 case-nurses selected from DEA (Department of Emergency and Acceptance), resuscitation service, intensive care, 100 control- nurses selected from surgical, medical and paediatric wards, extracted from a total of 155 matched on the age, sex, total years of employment and work commitment. The questionnaires were given to the two groups in order to assess the variables of the burnout level, its components and work-related stress factors. The results were subjected to statistical analysis using Chi-square test and the Mann-Whitney U using the software SPSS ver 17.0.
Results: the results showed that the percentage of presence of burnout in critical care nurses is 0%, while for colleagues in wards turns out to be 12%.
The relevant data is shown by the results obtained from the MBI questionnaire: in fact, in equal proportion of personal accomplishment (PA), the critical unit nurses have a greater percentage of emotional exhaustion (EE) than these from ward, but the depersonalization component (DC) is much lower in the critical care unit nurses than in their ward colleagues. It is just that identification factor with the role and the patient seems to preserve this category from burnout.
Discussion: the critical care unit nurses are apparently one of the hospital areas at highest risk of burnout, as here are gathered many of precipitating factors such as work overload, organizational issues, ethical and emotional conflicts, exacerbated by the unpredictability of situations that must be daily worked out. In fact, we should not underestimate the key of personal satisfaction and role identification: these nurses feel gratified and despite the weight of responsibility, know they have back control and this makes them feel social outcasts.
Conclusions: the results of this study, which upsets all our expectations, has to make reflect the institutions: the latter should be concerned over the plan implementation to reduce the work-related stress factors, even to give right value to the professional figure of the nursery, for too long underestimated.
We found, in fact, the findings from our study that it is the depersonalization, the factor which brings health care workers to assume an hostility and cynicism attitude, erupting into a real disease.
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