Nursing can be considered as one of the greatly respected profession in the world. As nurses are caring by nature and plays a significant role in healthcare sector in contributing common good by providing care to the individual, families and the society. However, nursing is not a very easy profession, it is very demanding and challenging, where nurses need a lot of commitment and devotion. Today, in the 21st century in health care scenario with the increase in nurse demand and increase in the quality and safety of care to the patient and hence the workload on the nursing professionals has also been increasing accordingly. As a result, nursing burnout has been global issue in nursing profession. So, what is nursing burnout? What makes nurses to quit their profession?
Burnout can be defined as physical, mental and emotional exhaustion that is facilitated in the different professionals due to great severity of workload and pressure. Elaborating more, authors have described nursing burn out to be an issue that generates the different kinds of exhaustions, that propels the nursing professional to feel their professional capabilities to be overextended. And, as a result they gradually lose the interest and connection with their profession and build up serious performance and productivity related issues like tardiness, absenteeism, performance issues, and most importantly employee retention (Van Bogaert et al., 2014).
Various contributing factors play the profound roles behind the buildup of burnout in the nursing professionals. The acute lack of sufficient staffing arrangements in the health care scenario now is the most important concern behind all the different factors like long shifts, overtimes, extreme pressure and workload and severely low patient-nurse ratio (Lim & Fagan, 2014).
The nursing burnout has a number of contributing factors and each of the factors has individual detrimental impact on the professional compatibility of the nursing professionals as well. There have been many research studies that have attempted to categorize nursing burnout based on the impact it causes on the professional competence. It has to be mentioned in this context that the most frequently observed or reported impact of nursing burnout has been the reduced sense of professional accomplishment, depersonalized professional encounters, and reduced performance or productivity (Van Bogaert et al., 2013).
Although, emphasizing on the nursing or health care as the professional scenario, the nursing profession has the opportunity to provide care and support to the patients, and hence, the responsibility of the patients lies on the nursing personnel as well. According to the principles of catholic social teaching, the caring for God’s creation is equivalent to showing faith or respect for the God himself; and hence, in the dignified profession of nursing, the impact of burnout will directly affect the procedure of caring for the god’s creation (Donaldson & Belanger, 2012).
Another very impactful consequence of extreme burnout in the nursing professionals is the behavioral change in the nursing professionals towards the patients. The patients rely heavily on the nurses, the patients do not just depend on the nurse for the care and support that is provided to them but also for the communicational ease that the patients retain with the nurses.
It has to be understood in this context that the patients feel comfortable in approaching the nurse far more about their personal preferences and grievances with the nurses hence the impact of the professional exhaustion when is reflected on the behavior and approach of care has an extreme detrimental effect on the mental and emotional wellbeing of the patients. Many authors have described that the nursing professionals are very close to the only family or friend that the patients have with them 24*7 in the health care facility and the therapeutic relationship between the patients is often destroyed when the exhaustion from burnout transforms the easy communicational relationship between the patient and nursing care provider (Li et al. 2013).
As explained in the principles of catholic social teaching, the life and dignity of a human has to be restored and cherished at all times. Lord himself stated human life to be sacred, each and every human has equal rights to optimal dignity in the society regardless of the position they are in (Donaldson & Belanger, 2012). Hence, when the impact of burnout affects the dignity and morality of the care provided to the patients, these principles of a moral and ethical society is also tarnished.
Donaldson, L. P., & Belanger, K. (2012). Catholic social teaching: Principles for the service and justice dimensions of social work practice and education. Social Work and Christianity, 39(2), 119.
Henry, B. J. (2014). Nursing burnout interventions: What is being done?. Clinical journal of oncology nursing, 18(2), 211.
Li, B., Bruyneel, L., Sermeus, W., Van den Heede, K., Matawie, K., Aiken, L., & Lesaffre, E. (2013). Group-level impact of work environment dimensions on burnout experiences among nurses: a multivariate multilevel probit model. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 50(2), 281-291.
Lim, K., & Fagan, J. M. (2014). Burnout in the Nursing Profession.
Van Bogaert, P., Kowalski, C., Weeks, S. M., & Clarke, S. P. (2013). The relationship between nurse practice environment, nurse work characteristics, burnout and job outcome and quality of nursing care: a cross-sectional survey. International journal of nursing studies, 50(12), 1667-1677.
Van Bogaert, P., Timmermans, O., Weeks, S. M., van Heusden, D., Wouters, K., & Franck, E. (2014). Nursing unit teams matter: Impact of unit-level nurse practice environment, nurse work characteristics, and burnout on nurse reported job outcomes, and quality of care, and patient adverse events—A cross-sectional survey. International journal of nursing studies, 51(8), 1123-1134