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Burnout Syndrome in Professional Nurses


Burnout syndrome is a serious issue that negatively affects many workers in any profession, especially nurses. The syndrome is associated with a number of psychological distress forms, such as the sense of low personal fulfillment, emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization (Dde, Magnago, Sakae, & Magajewski, 2009, p. 1559). To resolve the problem of professional nurses’ burnout, the proposed solution lies in improving the working environment to reduce general stress and tension associated with the work of a nurse.

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Evaluation Plan Development


To evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed solution, three methods will be used. The first method is conducting a survey of staff attitudes as contributors to their job satisfaction or dissatisfaction before and after the change implementation. Locke (as cited in Saari & Judge, 2004) defined job satisfaction as “a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experience” (p. 396). Surveys of staff attitudes will show positive and negative aspects of nurses’ professional practice and determine whether there have been any improvements since the implementation of the solution.

The second method is associated with obtaining turnover rates before and after the change initiation. Turnover rates are indicative of the number of employees that leave their job position and are replaced by new workers. High rates of employee turnover show that the staff leaves their positions because of job dissatisfaction. Professional burnout in nurses can be significantly influenced by job dissatisfaction and affect high employee turnover, so it is crucial to measure the turnover rates for evaluating the effectiveness of the proposed change initiative. Therefore, if the employee turnover declines after the implementation of the proposed solution, the steps targeted at improving the working environment were effective.

Hospital discharge surveys were designed to meet the needs and requirements of patients receiving care in healthcare facilities. Data gathered from hospital discharge surveys can be used to evaluate the quality of care provided to patients, identify the topics of concern with regards to the professional performance of the medical staff, and find out what aspects of care do not require any changes (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015, para. 2). The comparative analysis of hospital discharge surveys before and after the implemented change will show whether the plan contributed to boosting the effectiveness of the medical staff in terms of satisfying the requirements of their patients.


The evaluation of the plan’s effectiveness will be directly associated with measuring three variables related to professional nurses’ burnout: employee attitudes and perceptions, patient attitudes and perceptions, and the rate of the nursing staff turnover. The first variable of staff attitudes and perceptions is regarded as the primary indicator of job satisfaction and contributor to employee burnout. Employee attitudes and perceptions are formed on the basis of direct experiences, events, and situations. By collecting data on employee attitudes, the management of a healthcare facility will be able to see what is going “the right way” and what is going “the wrong way.” The variable of employee attitudes and perceptions could change for the better if the implemented change was proven to be effective. However, it is crucial to mention that changing employees’ attitudes usually takes a lot of time and effort. Therefore, for the proposed change to be effective in the minimum period of time, the approach should challenge the employees’ behavior and performance so that they invest their efforts into improving the working environment and elevating the burden of burnout.

Patients’ attitudes and perceptions is a variable that may also be indicative of nurses’ performance, although it is subjective in the majority of cases. There are many examples of nurses having provided an appropriate level of healthcare to the patient, but the patient was left unsatisfied because the nurse did not communicate enough due to the increased flow of new patients. Patients’ attitudes may be a relevant variable for measuring employees’ effectiveness; however, the issue of burnout is rather associated with the availability of administrative support and good relationships among the staff. According to the results of the research conducted by Vahey, Aiken, Sloane, Clarke, and Vargas (2010), nurses’ burnout affected patient satisfaction while patient satisfaction rarely affected burnout (p. 1).

The last variable of nursing staff turnover is crucial for measuring employee burnout as well as finding out the effectiveness of the introduced change plan. Nursing staff turnover rates are indicators of not only employee satisfaction or the quality of the working environment; they also may show a general situation on the nurse job market. Furthermore, because of the inconsistency in the definition of the turnover rates (whether to include voluntary or involuntary leaving), the turnover rates in the same health care facility may vary. Measuring turnover rates may be an effective practice that will contribute to developing a strategy of improving the working environment as well as decreasing the instances of burnout among professional nurses.

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To conclude, the evaluation of the proposed plan effectiveness will span across three methods that involve different variables. By measuring nurses’ and patients’ attitudes, as well as employee turnover rates before and after the plan implementation, the effectiveness of the change will be determined.

Evidence Dissemination

Evidence gathered for strategy implementation provides a range of strengths and weaknesses. As already mentioned, the indicator of patients’ perceptions and attitudes is subjective and may not be reliable for studying nurses’ burnout. However, it is likely that employee burnout will potentially impact patients’ dissatisfaction with the provided level of care.

It is expected that employee turnover rates and their perceptions of the working environment will improve after the implementation of the change plan. Enhancements within the professional environment in a health care facility will positively influence employees’ outlook on their nursing practice as well as prevent nurses from leaving their position in a search for better working conditions. A comfortable work environment greatly impacts nurses’ abilities to provide high-quality health care; therefore, the professional atmosphere is crucial for elevating the burden of nurses’ burnout (American Nurses Association, n.d., para. 1).

Employee turnover is expected to decrease with the introduction of the change plan of improving the working environment. Because inadequate or unfair working conditions are contributors to high turnover rates of employees, strategies for improving the professional environment in the healthcare facility are crucial to retaining professional nurses in their positions. Burnout reduction will be achieved through the analysis of the measured variables through surveys and questionnaires and the subsequent implementation of the change plan. Positive outcomes of the change plan will benefit the facility in which it will be implemented, give stakeholders an idea about how employee burnout can be reduced, as well as provide nurses with a pleasant environment for work.


American Nurses Association. (n.d.). Work environment. Web.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). National hospital discharge survey. Web.

Dde, M., Magnago, R., Sakae, T., & Magajewski, F. (2009). Prevalence of burnout syndrome in nursing staff in a large hospital in south the of Brazil. Cad Saude Publica, 25(7), 1559-1568.

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Saari, L., & Judge, T. (2004). Employee attitudes and job satisfaction. Human Resource Management, 43(4), 395-407.

Vahey, D., Aiken, L., Sloane, D., Clarke, P., & Vargas, D. (2010). Nurse burnout and patient satisfaction. Med Care, 42(2), 1-14.

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