Individual responses to stress and burnout
: workplace issues for Australian nurses and midwives

  • Virginia Skinner

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    The presentation of this quantitative research looks at the relationship between nurses' and midwives' individual responses and organisational factors concerning stress and burnout in the workplace. This research aims to understand and assess the associations and relationships between nurses' and midwives' individual responses and factors causing stress and burnout in the workplace. This might enable nurses and midwives to reduce the impact of negative consequences of stress and burnout in conjunction with ethical and professional changes within nursing work practices. A questionnaire was developed and administered to nurses and midwives working in healthcare organisations in Australia to document their awareness of their individual responses to workplace issues and factors leading to stress and burnout.

    The majority of this study's respondents were dealing with moderate levels of stress and burnout and showed moderate levels of self-imposed work pressure and motivation which related to work behaviours. The three factors linked with stress for this study; being the work environment, psychosocial effects, and job dissatisfaction were all positively associated with exhaustion, the factor linked with burnout. Important factors linked with stress and burnout included time-related issues, excessive workloads, low morale as well as powerlessness. According to this research, organisational support could be improved so that nurses and midwives can support their colleagues.

    Nurses and midwives with higher levels of education were less likely to place unreasonable expectations on themselves in relation to work behaviours. Generally, they placed unnecessary stress upon themselves with no apparent time stressor. Working longer hours was responsible for deleterious effects of stress and burnout. Older and more educated nurses and midwives experienced less stress and burnout than younger ones. Accident and emergency nurses were a higher risk specialty compared to all other areas of practice. Even though some nurses and midwives were experiencing long-term effects of stress, the majority of them enjoy their work and perceive they were suited to their work. Addressing issues pertaining to stress and burnout can influence positively on the challenge of recruiting and retaining a dedicated nursing and midwifery workforce.
    Date of Award2009
    Original languageEnglish

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