The concept of burnout in nursing is of essence in different organizations, and needs close monitoring by the management. This has grave implications on the nursing practice, as well as the health organization. Burnout is costly to healthcare organizations, therefore, must be addressed within the appropriate timeframe (Elder, Evans & Lizette, 2012).

Burnout is a type of stress, which is considered unique from other stress types. An individual experiencing burnout might feel exhausted emotionally and might experience low personal accomplishment. In addition, such an individual will experience depersonalization (Cordes & Dourherty, 1993).

In all occupations, including nursing, individuals experience stress mainly because of the work they do. When individuals experience stress at work, they become tired and their productivity level at work drops significantly. Therefore, burnout generally results in absenteeism, high employee turnover, decreased productivity of employees, as well as increase in physical conditions in employees, including headaches, insomnia, among others (Cordes & Dougherty, 1993). If employees experience stress in their work, the management, together with the employees themselves should look for appropriate ways of getting rid of any work-related stress they are experiencing. If this is not addressed and is left to continue for a long time, it results in burnout, which is more lethal. Burnout extends its effects from the individual to their families and jobs. Different studies show that burnouts are prevalent in helping professions such as social work and healthcare professions, including nursing (Elder, Evans & Lizette, 2012). This paper will review considerable literature on the concept of burnout, and compare and contrast studies conducted on this concept in different years. This will culminate in a reflection on the concept of burning as presented in the studies, in order to provide a framework for enhanced understanding of burnout in nursing.

According to Poncet et al (2006), the concept of burnout has existed since the 1970’s. Different studies have been conducted on this concept over the years, to understand it well for increased chances of dealing with the situation in affected organizations. In 1999, Jansenn, Jonge, and Bakker, conducted a study among different nurses in order to establish the various determinants of work motivation, burnout, and turnover among nurses. Poncet et al conducted another study in the year 2006, and this sought to establish the degree of burnout in the nursing staff that was concerned with critical care. Finally, most recently in 2012, Spooner-Lane and Patton conducted a study in which they aimed at debunking the determinants of burnout among the nurses that worked in public hospitals.

In their definition of the concept of burnout, Spooner-Lane and Patton (2012) argued that burnout is not a symptom of work stress, but is what unmanaged work stress culminates into. They have used various definitions from different scholars to clarify more on the nature of burnout. Overall, from their definition, it remains that burnout is a result of extreme work-related stress. On the other hand, Poncet et al (2006) have begun by highlighting a short history about the concept of burnout. They argue have defined the burnout syndrome a condition that results when employees fail to put up with the emotional stress they experience at their work place. They have alternatively defined burnout syndrome as the state in which an employee feels they have failed, and are exhausted after they have used most of their energy in their job. Poncet et al (2006) have emphasized the detrimental effects of burnout syndrome on both the employee and the organization. Both Poncet et al (2006) and Spooner-Lane and Patton (2012) have identified the epidemiological issues of burnout syndrome. Spooner-Lane and Patton (2012) have identified emotional exhaustion, while Poncet et al (2006) have identified headaches, exhaustion, insomnia, eating problems, among others as the physical implications of burnout syndrome.

On the other hand, Jansenn, Jonge & Bakker (19


 

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