Burnout in Professional Nurses: Research Critique

The problem of burnout in professional nurses attracts the attention of numerous researchers in the field due to its detrimental long-term consequences. The given paper discusses the article by Dev, Fernando III, Lim, and Consedine (2018) that was published in a well-known peer-reviewed nursing research journal. The study focuses on the links between burnout rates and obstacles to compassion and proves that self-compassion reduces the negative impact of these obstacles on care quality.

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Background of Study

The clinical problem introduced by the researchers refers to a wide range of negative consequences for nurses and patients caused by high burnout rates among healthcare professionals. In terms of the research gap, the authors claim that the role of compassion and the obstacles to it in employee burnout has not been thoroughly studied yet. According to them, the majority of studies focus on “the association between burnout and a lack of compassion,” whereas the abovementioned questions are not addressed (Dev et al., 2018, p. 82). To establish the significance of the study, the authors devote a separate section to the discussion of points linked to its scientific novelty. Among them are the manifestations of job burnout in barriers to compassionate care and the role of self-compassion in eliminating these barriers.

The research is aimed at problematizing the aspects of burnout that tend to be omitted or underestimated. More precisely, the study’s key purpose is to add to the previously reported findings by “examining the associations between burnout and measures of barriers to compassion among nurses” (Dev et al., 2018, p. 82). The research questions refer to the links between burnout and the following types of barriers to compassion: “feeling burnt out,” “work environment,” “patient and family,” and “clinical picture” (Dev et al., 2018, p. 84). The chosen questions and the purpose clearly reflect the problem of the underresearched aspects of burnout.

Methods of Study

The risks of participation are not explicitly discussed by the authors. Given that the study did not involve medication testing and the use of care provision strategies with unknown effects, the risks were absent. Moreover, the participation was beneficial to nurses since all survey respondents were eligible to enter a drawing for two monetary prizes. The informed consent was obtained from all nurses prior to the study, and there are no details that could point at the cases of involuntary participation. The permission to conduct the research was given by “the University of Auckland Human.

Participants Ethics Committee, approval number 7640” (Dev et al., 2018, p. 82). The study utilizes a great number of variables related to personal characteristics (gender, years of experience, education levels, etc.) and burnout dimensions. High burnout rates present an independent variable, whereas four barriers to compassion listed above act as dependent variables.

For data collection, a structured questionnaire was disseminated with the help of an online survey service, but the rationale for choosing the research method was not included in the article. The only fact concerning the time of data collection refers to participants’ need to devote about twenty minutes to fill in the forms (Dev et al., 2018). Each participant was required to follow the link to the survey obtained via personal communication and mass mailing, give permission to analyze her/his demographic details and complete three parts of the survey. The parts were based on the tools for measuring burnout levels, self-compassion, and obstacles to compassion.

Given a large number of participants, numerous data management and analysis techniques were used to conduct the research. To manage the collected data and ensure credibility, the researchers included a question concerning the presence of active contacts with patients during the work. Based on the answer, some responses were excluded from the sample. Statistical methods included the preliminary analysis of correlations between the variables and the multiple regression analysis of two data sets (Dev et al., 2018).

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Unfortunately, the paper does not describe the process of analysis in a detailed way; thus, critical decisions and the use of statistical software is not mentioned. To prevent the impact of subjective factors on the selection procedure, it was decided to make participation anonymous. However, despite its effectiveness in debiasing in academic research, the measure can be strictly interconnected with the credibility of findings due to issues concerning participant sincerity.

Results of Study

According to the authors, the results of the statistical analysis point at the presence of positive correlations between burnout levels and obstacles to compassion. At the same time, the manifestations of self-compassion and obstacles to compassionate care were correlated negatively. The findings seem to be valid since they align with the intuitive conclusions on the topic, and there are no obvious methodological mistakes in the research.

When discussing the limitations, the authors acknowledge the lack of opportunities to consider different types of self-compassion. Also, they mention the difficulties of measuring self-compassion in an objective way. In the end, no consideration was given to the unique correlations between three burnout dimensions and the dependent variables (Dev et al., 2018). The findings are presented in a well-organized manner, which makes the article easier to read and review. The researchers start by presenting the correlations identified with the help of preliminary analysis and use four different sub-sections to introduce the findings of multiple regression analysis for four types of obstacles.

The practical implications of the results are inextricably connected to the purpose of the research. Adding to the findings of previous researchers focusing on burnout and compassion, the study proves the critical role of self-compassion in the work of nurses. Therefore, to implement the researchers’ findings into practice, it is pivotal to design educational interventions for healthcare providers that help develop self-compassion. Further studies, according to the authors, can be focused on analyzing the associations between the dimensions of burnout and the variables from the study.

Ethical Considerations

The permission to conduct the research was provided by specialists in the field of human research ethics from the University of Auckland, located in New Zealand. The privacy of all research participants was protected because no information helping to identify the individuals or their organizations was collected. The question of patient-related ethical considerations does not seem relevant to the chosen study because no patients were involved in the research.


To sum up, the chosen article demonstrates both practical significance and scientific novelty due to the authors’ decision to focus on a practice-oriented question. Despite some limitations recognized by the researchers, the study points at the need to delve into the types and effectiveness of self-compassion training sessions for nurses. Taking it into consideration, it is possible to say that the work is useful and practice-oriented because it identifies the role that the development of self-compassion has on the quality of nursing care. Potentially, the results reported by the group of researchers can form the basis of tests helping to define specialists who can stay compassionate despite burnout and stress.


Dev, V., Fernando III, A. T., Lim, A. G., & Consedine, N. S. (2018). Does self-compassion mitigate the relationship between burnout and barriers to compassion? A cross-sectional quantitative study of 799 nurses. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 81, 81-88.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, July 14). Burnout in Professional Nurses: Research Critique. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/burnout-in-professional-nurses-research-critique/

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"Burnout in Professional Nurses: Research Critique." StudyCorgi, 14 July 2021, studycorgi.com/burnout-in-professional-nurses-research-critique/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Burnout in Professional Nurses: Research Critique." July 14, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/burnout-in-professional-nurses-research-critique/.


StudyCorgi. "Burnout in Professional Nurses: Research Critique." July 14, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/burnout-in-professional-nurses-research-critique/.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Burnout in Professional Nurses: Research Critique." July 14, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/burnout-in-professional-nurses-research-critique/.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Burnout in Professional Nurses: Research Critique'. 14 July.

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