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Burn Out Syndrome

Stress/ Effects/coping of burn out syndrome in the in nursing field

Generally burnout is becoming a major problem encountered by edge close during a given time in their physical way of living or during their career development. It happens when someone is entirely exhausted naturally or emotionally by his or her occupation or related attachments in life. Given the grace of time, such a person at last draw near the yielding point and burnout syndrome catches up with him or her.  The burnout syndrome (BOS) was acknowledged in the early 1970sin service professionals. This was especially with the health care workers which includes the nurses among others(Maslach C, Schaufeli W, (2001)). Burnout syndrome is an incapability to deal with emotionalstress at the place of work (Pines A, Maslach C. (1978)) or as undue use of energy and resourcesleading to feelings of fatigue and tiredness (Freudenberger H. (1986)). Thoughmelancholy affects almost every part of people life,signs of burnout do appear only at work; however, burnout syndrome also reducesgeneral well-being (Iacovides A, Fountoulakis K, Moysidou C, Ierodiakonou C. (1999)). Maslach and Jackson developed the MaslachBurnout Inventory (MBI) for detecting and measuring the severityof burnout syndrome. It was aimed at explaining the process of physical and mental decline in professionals working in areas like teaching, health care, social work or emergency legal services (Freudenberger, (1974)). Consequently, burnout syndrome was defined as a unrelenting response to unceasing work stress which consisted of the experience of being emotionally worn out also known as emotional exhaustion, negative response and feelings toward the recipients of the service also referred as depersonalization, and feelings of low achievement and finally professional malfunction or in other words lack of personal achievement. The definition was projected on the ground of studies contacted with which is probably the most commonly used self-report instrument in research on this occurrence, the Maslach Burnout Inventory (Maslach & Jackson, 1981, 1986). It is important to note that burnout is past the normal stress that people encounter in life or in their working place. This indicates that stress related to job does not necessary imply that one is at the verge of having the burnout syndrome.

Sources of burnout syndrome:

In spite of increased recognition of stress being witnessed in the nursing field and its dire effects on burn out, job satisfaction, the ratio of turn over.and patient care only few studies have been done to evaluate the causes, effects and modalities of coping with the same. There are several causes of burning out in the nursing field. This may include; one overwhelming workload, which may be as a result of poor time management soft skills and most probably poor organizing, giving priorities and failure to delegate duties in the nursing field. Two, lack of defined vision which is witnessed whereby someone is working tirelessly but without seeing any fruits. One cannot see the progress if he or she does not have a defined goal or landing point. Three, lack of power to bring a change to something that you treasure. You can have dedicated in your work as a nurse but the rigidity of the working system that you are in presents a stumbling block to your efforts which with time leaves you exhausted and almost giving up. Four, trying to make impossibilities to be possibilities, for example those nurses who work in the ICU section. On daily basis you find your self fixed between life and death. Five, when there is conflict between your values and place of work values. This situation arises whereby somebody does not believe in or disagree with what he or she is doing but there is a feeling that the circumstances are forcing to do it and cause number six is when you encounter the less visible tunnel. These crops in when you are competent and the seniors are not giving you a chance of recognition or promotional opportunity. Other cause related to the nurses life style include; Working too much, without enough time for relaxing and socializing, being expected to be too many things to too many people, taking on too many responsibilities, without enough help from others , not getting enough sleep and lack of close, supportive relationships. Also there are personal traits that can contribute to burnout in nursing like; perfectionist tendencies, pessimistic view of yourself and the world, the need to be in control; reluctance to delegate to others and high-achieving personality

Effects of burnout:

If burnout continues for long in the nursing field it may lead to poor job performance. Or in other words, job performance suffers. This implies that the quality of service that the patients are supposed to get definitely decreases. Nurses who are victims of burnout are likely to reduce the amount of work they do per day. They may tend to avoid duties that they realize are stressing. Also failure to report to work may increase. To some extent burn out can lead the nurses to quit their work without even minding to inform their bosses, especially in the private sector

Coping with burn out syndrome:

Issues concerning burning out in the nursing field should be employer oriented and not the other way round. But also the nurses should deal with burnout from individual level (Newton (1995)). Therefore the coping strategies which are employer oriented may include formation of employee assistance programs, stress management trainings and stress intervention methods.  Those which are nurse/individual oriented include; problem-based coping which involves concentrating on the causes of their stresses, appraisal-based approach which involves dealing with individual knowledge of which is and which not a stress causing factor.


For all of those burnout causes what is important is not as much the external factors that come on you, but how you interpret them, what you say to yourself, and what actions you take in response.

Finally, it is important to understand the risks of burnout in your personal or job situations. Once you are its victim, it may not be easy to get things back on track. That condition does not go away in a day. You may not be able to recover by yourself, and you may need to have drastic changes in your attitudes and life style. You are much better off preventing it now than putting your life back together later.

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