Factors in Stress and Burnout Among Paediatric Nurses in a General Hospital
Paul Watson, RCpN, BA, Nurse Practitioner, Christchurch Hospital
Anne Feld, RGON, RM, AND, Patient Care Manager, Christchurch Hospital
Reference: Watson, P. & Feld, A. (1996) Factors in Stress and Burnout Among Paediatric Nurses in a General Hospital. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 11(3), 38-46.
High stress and staff turnover in a multi-specialty paediatric area prompted this study that aimed to:
1. measure the burnout level of nurses in a multi-specialty paediatric area
2. identify and validate causes of stress
3. identify new ways of preventing stress on the ward
Fifty-four percent (n=14) of the paediatric nurses completed a questionnaire booklet that included demographic data, the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the Nursing Situations Questionnaire, the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-21, the Ways of Coping Checklist and open-ended questions about sources of stress and satisfaction at work. Results indicated levels of burnout and distress comparable with larger studies. Conflict with doctors was the major source of stress, followed by workload, inadequate preparation in dealing with the emotional needs of patients and their families and death and dying. Conflict with doctors has not previously been identified as the major source of stress. However, workload and death and dying are commonly identified as sources in the literature. Suggestions for further research and the low response rate are discussed.