[Predictors of nurses' professional burnout: a study in a university hospital].Rech Soins Infirm. 1999 DecRS
This study was designed to examine the level of burnout and to identify stressor among nurses in a teaching hospital. Based on a sample of 625 nurses, results show that burnout levels are moderate (M. = 24.3, SD = 9.3) and comparable to those observed in physicians (M. = 26.6, SD = 9.8) and in the administrative staff of the same hospital (M. = 25.1, SD = 11.9). Multiple regression analyses selected 11 predictors significantly associated with burnout. Some contributed positively to burnout (job strain, lack of social support, conflicts with other nurses, conflicts with physicians, presence of stressors related to private life, feeling that the job is threatened, full-time vs. part-time status), whereas others contributed negatively (perceived job control, hierarchical level, death and dying of patients, feeling protected against occupational hazards). It is worthy of noting that leadership dimensions were not significantly related to burnout, once stressors were included in the regression model. We also tested Karasek's (1979) model, according to which job demands interact with perceived job control in influencing burnout. For example, the worst situation is one in which job demands are high and perceived control is low. This is defined as a high-strain job. The results from this study confirm that perceived control reduces the effect of job strain on burnout. This suggests that if job strain is high, managers can reduce its effect by providing nurses with opportunities to control their work environment and relations with patients. Results also demonstrate that burnout is negatively correlated with job satisfaction and perceived unit effectiveness. Managers should invest in prevention programs, since burnout is as deleterious to individuals as to the organization. A limitation of this study is its focus on emotional exhaustion which is known to be the first step of the burnout process. Future research should examine whether the predictors identified here would also be relevant for explaining further stages of the burnout process, such as depersonalization and reduced personal accomplishment.