The rate of moderate/high level burnout is high for palliative care nurses, according to a survey-based study published in the Journal of Hospital Palliative Care Nursing.

In this study, burnout was defined as “a condition characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and decreased personal accomplishment” characterized by “decreased energy, tiredness, exhaustion, and a negative evaluation of one’s individual accomplishments.”

Results of previously conducted studies have shown an association between burnout and the health outcomes of nurses. However, there is a dearth of research evaluating the association between nurse burnout in the palliative care setting and the perceptions of nurses regarding organizational support and social support from coworkers, as well as the nursing practice environment and the demographics of palliative care nurses.

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This exploratory, cross-sectional, correlation study involved a convenience sample of 73 registered nurses who completed all parts of the survey-based study and were direct-care providers of palliative care, as well as members of the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.

Participants completed a 59-item online survey that included the Emotional Exhaustion subscale of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), a shortened version of the Perceived Organizational Support (POS) scale, a subscale of the Health and Safety Executive Tool to assess support from nursing peers, the Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Work Index (PES-NWI), and a short demographic survey.

Demographic characteristics of the study population included a mean age of 52 years, a mean duration of nursing experience of 29 years, and a mean palliative care experience duration of 8 years. More than 90% of study participants were female, with 48% and 17% reporting that they had a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in nursing, respectively.

A key study finding was that 73% of palliative care nurses reported experiencing moderate to high levels of burnout.

Significant negative correlations were found between burnout and coworker social support (P =.002), as well as burnout and perceived organizational support (P =.008). Hence, an increase in coworker support correlated with a decrease in nurse burnout.