Background of Study
The article was written by Cañadas-De la Fuente, Vargas, San Luis, García, Cañadas, and Emilia (2015) focus on the burnout syndrome experienced by the representatives of the nursing profession. The authors state that this is a critical problem known as chronic work-related stress that is already considered to be treated as an occupational illness because it is claimed to cause various health issues. The burnout syndrome includes:
- Emotional exhaustion. A professional is physically and emotionally overloaded. For nurses, such condition is caused by interactions with co-workers and clients.
- Depersonalization. One develops cynical attitudes and responses. As a rule, they are used toward co-workers and beneficiaries.
- Reduced personal accomplishment. Professionals tend to align a negative self-concept with unrewarding situations.
As a result, nurses who experience burnout have psychosomatic, emotional, behavioral, and attitude problems. Previous research studies reveal that they often have insomnia and depression, are hostile and aggressive. Their workplaces are also affected by this problem because of the decreased effectiveness of services and increased number of sick leaves. However, understanding protective and risk factors, professionals would be able to prevent or at least minimalize the outcomes of this problem.
Resorting to a number of peer-reviewed articles written by outstanding professionals of both the 20th and 21st centuries, the authors proved that these factors had not been thoroughly discussed yet. Analyzing previous findings, they concluded that such a tendency is observed because the burnout syndrome has been recognized as an illness only recently, and it is greatly affected by the changes observed within the nursing profession. Thus, the authors manage to emphasize the fact that the practice problem requires additional research for it to meet the peculiarities of the up-to-date world.
The purpose of the research is to estimate the prevalence of burnout and identify related variables and risk factors in the framework of the nursing profession. Mainly, the authors wanted to find out:
- What are the levels of burnout among nurses?
- Are there any statistically significant differences in them considering personality traits and socio-demographic characteristics (Cañadas-De la Fuente et al., 2015)?
Methods of Study
The researchers approached 676 nurses for the study. All of them represented the Andalusian Health Service. In their article, Cañadas-De la Fuente et al. (2015) did not identify any risks for nurses, their workplaces, or clients related to participation. In addition to that, it is possible to claim that no risks were engaged, considering the peculiarities of the study. No benefits were directly discussed in the paper, as well. Moreover, it was mentioned that no incentive was provided for participation. However, it is possible to say that the results of the research study have a potentially positive influence on the sample’s practice, as they are likely to make their workplace establish initiatives aimed at the reduction of burnout experiences.
The authors obtained verbal informed consent from the participant. All nurses were encouraged to get engaged in the study on a voluntary basis and were free to leave it at any time. No approval of the ethics committee was gained due to the peculiarities of research, but the representatives of public health institutions and the nursing union agreed to support this research and helped the scientists to contact nurses and collect the data.
Both dependent and independent variables were identified by Cañadas-De la Fuente et al. (2015): “Dependent variables were the three Burnout dimensions: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment. Independent variables were socio-demographic, organizational, personality-related variables” (p. 240).
The data were collected with the help of a cross-sectional study and a set of questionnaires. The authors believed this method to be the most appropriate because it allowed focusing on the comparison of variables and their effects. Approximately 45 minutes were needed to accomplish a questionnaire. It was provided by the authors so that every participant had an opportunity to deal with it individually. Then the data was collected non-randomly and sent to the researchers who ensured the anonymity of the sample.
The Maslach Burnout Inventory and the Revised NEO Personality Inventory were used for measurements. T-test, the Games-Howell test, the Welch or Brown-Forsythe approaches, multiple linear regression models, and Mackinnon and White’s covariance matrix were used for data analysis. SPSS software ensured its accuracy. The rigor of the process was not discussed. Possible researchers’ biases were minimalized due to the focus on quantitative methods that allowed checking assumptions.
Results of Study
The researchers found out that nurses experienced different burnout levels. However, in the majority of cases, they were average and high, which means that the findings support the assumption of the burnout symptom being a critical illness related to work. In addition to that, “there were statistically significant differences in burnout levels associated with the following variables: age, gender, marital status, having children, level of healthcare, type of work shift, healthcare service areas and conducting administrative tasks” (Cañadas-De la Fuente et al., 2015, p. 240). The evidence that proves the relation between personality-related variables and nurses’ burnout was also revealed.
These findings seem to be valid, considering the way they were gathered and then interpreted. They represent an accurate reflection of reality because of the large sample size and diverse participants. However, the study focused on causal relations and did not consider the progression of the problem. In addition to that, the sample was not randomized, and some groups were rather small. The findings were presented in a logical order and could be used when developing changes for nursing practice. In particular, they can be used to urge an alteration and prove that burnout is a critical issue faced by nurses that has adverse influences on these professionals, their workplaces, and clients. The authors suggested using a longitudinal design and large randomized sample in the future studies.
This research was aligned with the ethical guidelines of the Helsinki declaration. However, no approval was received from the Institutional Review Board because the patients were not involved in the study and interventions were not implemented. Still, the privacy of the participants was protected as the authors ensure anonymity and confidentiality. They did not mention the names of the participants and avoided resorting to any other personal information. There was no treatment discussed in the study, so no ethical considerations regarding it were included.
The thesis statement developed by the authors provided the readers with an opportunity to be aware of what would be discussed in the article. This information totally corresponded to the text of the paper. In addition to that, the article was based on a large number of authoritative sources and personal research, which proved its validity and reliability. The issue under discussion is critical nowadays, so it is advantageous that a lot of take-away points useful in nursing practice were provided.
It is expected that other researchers will use the findings of this study to offer their interventions on the basis of risk factors and prevalence of burnout found by Cañadas-De la Fuente et al. (2015). They will be aware of the fact that burnout is not a rare issue among nursing professionals and that its prevalence is rather high. In this way, they will realize the necessity to consider personality factors when dealing with burnout syndrome, remember that it can be predicted by the presence of extraversion and conscientiousness, for example, and influenced by age, work shift, and marital status.
Cañadas-De la Fuente, G. A., Vargas, C., San Luis, C., García, I., Cañadas, G. R., & Emilia, I. (2015). Risk Factors and Prevalence of Burnout Syndrome in the Nursing Profession. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 52(1), 240-249.