The issue of stress in the workplace can concern people of different professions, but nurses are prone to this problem very often since they are forced to work directly with patients, and their communication is not always smooth. Moreover, additional factors that affect stress and burnout can arise – fatigue, insufficiently competent leadership, etc. To describe this problem and strategies for its solution, a quantitative study will be analyzed. As the object of the analysis, the article “Comparing Burnout in Emergency Nurses and Medical Nurses” by Harkin and Melby (2014) will be used. The evaluation of the authors’ approaches and methods can help to consider the described problem as deeply as possible and draw appropriate conclusions regarding effective interventions.
Background of the Study
A clinical problem that led to the study is the increased burnout of nurses of different profiles. As a research problem, the need to search for personal and work motives that affect the stresses and burnout of junior medical personnel is described. The authors of the study sought to find out what factors determine and influence nurses’ negative morale in the workplace (Harkin & Melby, 2014).
The importance of the study is due to the need to find appropriate causes that affect the problem. According to Harkin and Melby (2014), “the health service professions and nursing are recognized as one of the occupations with the highest burnout prevalence rates” (p. 152). It, in turn, negatively affects the quality of nursing care since patients cannot receive appropriate assistance because of medical workers’ excessive fatigue and stress. As Rushton, Batcheller, Schroeder, and Donohue (2015) claim, many detrimental effects not only on patients but also on nurses themselves are manifested. The study under consideration aims to find and compare data on the burnout rate among medical and emergency nurses. The research questions are as follows:
- What are the consequences of burnout for nursing?
- What is the prevalence of employees with an increased risk of burnout?
- What factors affect the increased stress of nurses?
The purpose and research questions are directly related to the problem described; therefore, the authors correctly formulated the task and the way to analyze the issue (Harkin & Melby, 2014). The study is quantitative to analyze the number of workers experiencing stress. The answers of interviewed nurses are used as a rationale.
Methods of the Study
The advantage of participating in the study is that accurate statistics can be obtained by analyzing the information in the interview process for healthcare professionals. The authors did not mention the risks of participation because the survey was conducted anonymously by questionnaires (Harkin & Melby, 2014). Accordingly, the members of the target group did not sign any consent since their data were unknown. The study was conducted voluntarily based on the personal wishes of the participants. According to the authors, “approval was obtained from the University of Ulster School of Nursing Filter Committee and the participating hospital” (p. 155). The variables were not defined; presumably, an independent variable can be the type of nurses’ activity (medical or emergency), and a dependent one – the degree of burnout in the work process. On a mailing system of one of the hospitals, nurses were sent an invitation to participate in the study related stress during professional activities. Further, the employees received a list of questions, and after filling out all the items, anonymous data were sent back.
As a rationale for the used data collection method, the authors claim that a sufficiently large number of members took part in their study (thirty-one emergency nurses and thirty medical nurses) (Harkin & Melby, 2014, p. 155). Two weeks have been given to nurses to fill out the questionnaires. As the analysis of the information, the authors used a statistical method, calculating the number of answers and finding average values (Harkin & Melby, 2014). It was also mentioned that the questionnaires were delivered and sent back in sealed envelopes, which eliminated the possibility of falsification of information. Judging by the results, no software was involved for calculations. Harkin and Melby (2014) also remarked that they did not use any methods to minimize the effect of bias, which can be called the limitation of their study.
Results of the Study
The researchers use descriptive statistics to interpret the data collected (Harkin & Melby, 2014). The authors claim that there is a positive correlation between the nursing profession and increased burnout in the workplace (Harkin & Melby, 2014). The obtained information is presented in the table, graph, and formulas; therefore, there is confidence in the results. The conclusions are valid and reflect previously stated problems. The limitations of the study are the emphasis on too narrow professional activity, the subjectivity of respondents’ answers, and the lack of a method for minimizing the effect of bias. The results are presented in a logical order; the data are displayed sequentially, and the discussions concern all the stated questions.
The study is valuable for general nursing practice. For instance, Khamisa, Oldenburg, Peltzer, and Ilic (2015) note that patient outcomes can be improved if specific methods to solve the problem of nurses’ burnout and stresses will be found. There are no special categories of the population that will be more or less affected by the results of the study. From a specific area of nursing, work on both types of specialties (emergency and medical) can be improved through the dissemination of the analysis results. As further research, the authors suggest using a larger sample and “incorporate a multi-method design, which would facilitate a more comprehensive understanding of burnout in nurses” (Harkin & Melby, 2014, p. 155).
The study was not approved by an Institutional Review Board, but it was considered by the University of Ulster School of Nursing Filter Committee. Patient privacy did not need protection since all the information was obtained anonymously by filling in specially prepared questionnaires. Some ethical considerations about treatment and its lack were mentioned because the issues that were discussed indirectly affected the quality of patient care.
Thus, the evaluation of the approaches and methodology used in the detailed study can help to deeply consider the problem of nursing burnout and stress in the workplace and draw appropriate conclusions concerning what interventions and further research could be useful. A quantitative analysis is a successful type of methodology for estimating the number of respondents. The study has some limitations. No ethical norms were violated in the course of the research. The reliability of the data is confirmed by visual images (a table, a graph). The results can be used to improve the performance of medical and emergency nurses, as well as to develop the quality of patient outcomes.
Harkin, M., & Melby, V. (2014). Comparing burnout in emergency nurses and medical nurses. Clinical Nursing Studies, 2(3), 152-163.
Khamisa, N., Oldenburg, B., Peltzer, K., & Ilic, D. (2015). Work related stress, burnout, job satisfaction and general health of nurses. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12(1), 652-666.
Rushton, C. H., Batcheller, J., Schroeder, K., & Donohue, P. (2015). Burnout and resilience among nurses practicing in high-intensity settings. American Journal of Critical Care, 24(5), 412-420.