What hospitals can learn from the nurses who avoid burnout

'Nurses' confidence ... is a crucial factor'

Editor's note: This story was updated on July 10, 2017.

Nurses who avoid burnout share a common trait, according to a study published last week in Health Care Management Review—and their experience could provide a roadmap for how to reduce burnout among other nurses.

Researchers from University of East Anglia and University of Western Ontario surveyed about 600 Canadian nurses on two occasions spaced a year apart. They asked the nurses about their self-efficacy—their belief that they are capable of achieving their goals—as well as their mental health, exhaustion levels, relationship with staff members and supervisors, and thoughts about leaving their job. The nurses received a $2 coffee voucher as incentive to participate in the survey.

According to the research, nurses that reported higher levels of self-efficacy were less likely to report feeling burned out and emotionally exhausted from their job when they took the second survey. According to the study authors, self-efficacy serves a "protective role" in dealing with workplace stress.

The research also found that nurses who were bullied by physicians or other nurses reported feeling more cynical and exhausted when they took the second survey. Mistreatment from supervisors, however, did not have the same effect.

Lead author Roberta Fida said, "Nurses' confidence in their ability to handle incivility from team members is a crucial factor in maintaining a unified work group necessary for high-quality patient care." She added, "These results are encouraging because self-efficacy is something that can be supported and promoted by proactive hospital management."

The researchers recommended that nursing managers provide their teams with support to develop coping mechanisms, such as offering encouragement and referring nurses to mentors who can provide advice on dealing with stressful work situations (Mongan, McKnight's Long Term Care News, 10/19; Ross, "On Call," STAT News, 10/19; University of East Angila release, 10/18).

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