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A new approach to burnout?

10 September 2020
2 min read
Volume 29 · Issue 16

Burnout in nursing is well known and has received attention since the 1980s, when Maslach and Jackson (1981) produced the Burnout Measurement Inventory. Burnout, also known as nervous exhaustion, is characterised by a reduction in the individual nurse's energy, with emotional exhaustion leading to a cynical attitude due to desensitisation, lack of motivation, and frustration. Burnout leads to a reduction in effective and efficient working (Kowalski et al, 2009).

Resilience training is often viewed as the panacea for coping with stress (Davies, 2020). Education on resilience is offered to staff, but Traynor (2018) has suggested that resilience training fosters a submissive approach, in that nurses are facilitated to cope with the pressures and strains in the workplace, rather than to question and challenge them.

There is still a substantial shortages of nurses in the UK, which has to be redressed, although there appears to be hope on the horizon, given that, in 2019, 30 390 applicants were accepted on to undergraduate pre-registration training programmes, a 6.1% increase on the 2018 figures (Pisavadia, 2020). In spite of this, the Health Foundation (2019) has stated that the UK needs to recruit at least 5000 more international nurses a year until 2023/2024 to prevent nurse shortages from impacting on patient care and acting as a brake on ambitions to improve the NHS.

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