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Burnout Syndrome in the Nursing Profession


Research articles often portray the state of development of different scientific areas. In nursing, such studies may consider various topics from the education of nursing professionals to the main approaches of nurses to controversial issues. The article “Risk Factors and Prevalence of Burnout Syndrome in the Nursing Profession” investigates the reasons behind the appearance of the burnout syndrome in nursing staff. This paper offers a critique of this article, highlights its strengths and weaknesses, and determines its relevance to the sphere of nursing

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Research Problem/Purpose

The research problem of this article lies in the fact that burnout syndrome is becoming prevalent among nurses. The authors show the background to this issue, presenting existing information about the possible reasons for burnout and the consequences that nurses, who suffer from burnout syndrome, can encounter.

This study is highly relevant to nursing because it investigates nurses’ health and the possible connection between some personal variables of nursing professionals, such as age, marital status, and level of healthcare, and the probability of the burnout syndrome development. The purposes of this research are to investigate the levels of burnout in nursing staff, identify the main variables pertaining to the syndrome occurrence, and create a risk profile that can display the main groups potentially exposed to burnout among the nursing staff (Cañadas-De la Fuente et al., 2015).

Review of the Literature

The authors present the literature review in the form of a background investigation. First of all, the article explores the definition of burnout syndrome, reviewing the reasons and symptoms of the syndrome and establishing that burnout can be characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment (Cañadas-De la Fuente et al., 2015). Secondly, the authors turn to recent studies to evaluate the levels of exhaustion of nurses and their effect on their working and private lives.

They conclude that most studies show the correlation between nurses’ personal and professional situation and the probability of the burnout syndrome progressing. Moreover, the article looks at studies of different personal variables and their role in the development of the syndrome. Cañadas-de la Fuente et al. (2015) argue that, while organizational variables, such as workload, can affect nurses’ emotional state, personal variables also can significantly influence nurses’ susceptibility to the burnout syndrome. The authors mention such variables as socio-demographic, psychological, and occupational variables. This article uses both current and dated references to provide the reader with a full scope of research on the topic of burnout.

Theoretical Framework

The research uses ideas from nursing theory as well as psychology theory. This study is largely based on the Five-Factor Theory that describes an individual’s personality through five main factors: extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experience (Cañadas-De la Fuente et al., 2015). The authors base their research on this theory and use it as the method of evaluation. This theoretical framework is stated in the article and is consistently used throughout the paper.


According to the article, the independent variables are personal and organizational variables that affect the syndrome’s progression. Dependent variables include the three burnout characteristics: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment (Cañadas-De la Fuente et al., 2015).

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The independent variables are specified as a set of characteristics, which can be measured. For example, such qualities as gender, age, the number of children allow the researchers to display data in percentages. The dependent variables are presented in the form of a questionnaire, which has a scale of possible answers, ranging from zero to six.

This type of answer makes the information measurable and concrete, which allows the author to show the results factually and objectively. The research hypothesis is not clearly stated. However, the authors indicate that the main objective of the study is to prove that personal variables have the same significance as organizational variables in the development of burnout syndrome in nursing staff.


This research uses a quantitative type of design and deductive reasoning. The study sample consists of six hundred and seventy-six nursing professionals that work at the Andalusian Health Service. This study is cross-sectional. Researchers use convenience sampling because the setting is a particular hospital in Spain (Brannen, 2017). The investigators chose to use non-probability sampling because nurses were requested to participate in the research.

The authors used the Maslach Burnout Inventory and the NEO Personality Inventory to measure the variables. Both scales are reliable and valid. The research addresses ethical issues, as it follows the ethical guidelines of the Helsinki declaration (Cañadas-De la Fuente et al., 2015). These guidelines allow individuals to participate in the study anonymously and voluntarily and disclose that the participants can abandon the study and refuse to turn in the results at any time.

Data Analysis

The researchers use the analysis of variance and the student’s t test to determine the population variances. In other cases, the authors also implement such tools, as Brown-Forsythe and Welch approaches and the Games-Howell test. Moreover, some calculations are performed using Cohen’s measurements. The results are presented in the form of regression models and tables, which outline summaries of the regression models on separate points.

For example, one of the tables presents the data on the depersonalization of individuals. This table shows that the effect of the burnout syndrome connected to depersonalization occurs in men more often than in women. According to the study, community health nurses also display a higher level of depersonalization than nurses from other fields. Individuals who participated in administrative tasks display lower levels of depersonalization as compared to those who never performed such tasks before. The research implies that some variables can predict this particular dimension of burnout, including gender, age, healthcare service area, and participation in administrative tasks.

Summary/Conclusions, Implications, and Recommendations

The study “Risk Factors and Prevalence of Burnout Syndrome in the Nursing Profession” has some strong and weak points. The article’s strong point is that it presents various measurable results that can be used not only in nursing but also in other professional spheres. The data is rather illustrative of the current state of burnout of nursing personnel. However, because the researchers used a non-randomized sample, the results of the study are not entirely objective and should be considered with caution.

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The sample was taken from a single hospital, which cannot depict the situation in every country and facility. It is possible for a researcher to generalize the findings to similar populations. For example, some countries that have similar nursing roles, policies, and structures may use this research as a basis for new information. However, the limitations of the article do not allow it to become a universal example. All in all, the findings of this research can prove to be very significant to nursing. The ability to establish the reasons behind burnout may allow nurses to reflect on the points of their personal and professional lives that require improvement (Alligood, 2013). Data from this research can be implemented in education for nurses to promote self-cognition and mindfulness.


Alligood, M. R. (2013). Nursing theory: Utilization & application (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Brannen, J. (Ed.). (2017). Mixing methods: Qualitative and quantitative research. New York, NY: Routledge.

Cañadas-De la Fuente, G. A., Vargas, C., San Luis, C., García, I., Cañadas, G. R., & De la Fluente, E. I. (2015). Risk factors and prevalence of burnout syndrome in the nursing profession. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 52(1), 240-249.

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