An empirical investigation into a manager's learning with respect to stress and burnout among mental health practitioners
AuthorsSexton, Kenneth John
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AbstractThere is growing evidence that nursing is a stressful occupation, particularly mental health nursing. (Nolan 1995). The objective of this dissertation was to assess the degree and nature of occupational stress and burnout in psychiatric nurses. Two questionnaires, The Professional Life Scale, (Fontana 1989), and Are you burning out ? (Freudenberger 1980), were administered to a group of psychiatric nurses, (n=15). The data was supplemented by series of individual qualitative interviews (n=9). Additional statistical data regarding occupational sickness and leaver profiles was also evaluated and integrated into the main research outcomes. Setting - A National Health Service hospital trust, specialising in psychiatry. There were 15 subjects in the quantitative study, representative of nursing staff from acute residential psychiatric admission wards, community psychiatric nurses, and staff from a therapy day hospital. There were five staff from each clinical area involved with the study, which represented approximately 10% of the staff from the clinical areas. Three female and two male staff were randomly selected for each study group. There were nine subjects involved in the qualitative study, two female, and one male from each clinical area. Freudenberger's questionnaire revealed few burnout factors in ward staff, and a low to moderate burnout factor in day hospital and CPN questionnaire respondents. Fontana's questionnaire did not indicate professional stress of any significance in any of the respondent groups but the CPN group scored a relatively higher professional stress factor. A series of qualitative interviews (n=9) confirmed that the outcomes of the quantitative questionnaires were considered by subjects to be a reasonable indicator of stress and burnout. Respondents felt that stress that they encountered was reactionary, not sustained, and normal. Non-occupational stress issues were considered by the staff groups as major influences in potentially creating occupational stress. Other indicators, including low sickness and leaver rates led to a conclusion that the staff groups did not display occupational stress or burnout of any significance. Supervision and training were consistently cited as positive variables in reducing stress and burnout factors, and were professionally valued.
TypeThesis or dissertation
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