Caring and Burnout in Registered Nurses: What's the Connection?

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Title: Caring and Burnout in Registered Nurses: What's the Connection?
Author: Peery, Annette Ivey
Advisors: Kathryn Kolasa, Committee Member
John Pettitt, Committee Member
Duane Akroyd, Committee Chair
Conrad Glass, Committee Member
Abstract: In order to prevent burnout among nurses, key causes of burnout must be identified and targeted for direct intervention. The literature discusses burnout among nurses, focusing on burnout due to task-related variables and not patient-related (caring) variables. Two major problems exist with research on burnout and caring in registered nurses (RNs). The first is the lack of robust methods of research utilized to study the concept of caring. The second is the lack of research on the link between caring and burnout in RNs. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between caring and burnout in a sample of RNs in North Carolina. The major hypothesis for this research, was that as RNs report increased levels of caring, they also report higher levels of burnout. Four research questions are addressed in this project. The population for this study consisted of all RNs within the state of North Carolina. Subjects were selected randomly to obtain a sample of 3,500 to receive a mailed survey. The revised Caring Behaviors Inventory was used to measure the five dimensions of caring (independent variables) and the Maslach Burnout Inventory to measure the three dimensions of burnout (dependent variables). A multiple regression analysis was conducted between each dimension of burnout and four carative factors. This study revealed that the four carative factors identified do impact a nurse's level of burnout and had the greatest impact on the burnout dimension of reduced personal accomplishment. The carative factor of respectful deference for the other contributed the greatest variance in reduced personal accomplishment. Overall, increases in caring led to decreased burnout for this sample. If nurses can be identified as being predisposed to burnout due to their caring attitudes and behaviors, individual and workplace interventions might be developed and implemented to assist in identifying predisposing factors to burnout and, in turn, reduce or prevent burnout in the future. A reduction in burnout may lead to a higher retention rate for nurses, thereby easing the nursing shortage.
Date: 2006-10-23
Degree: EdD
Discipline: Adult and Community College Education

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