Original Research

Prevalence of burnout among nurses working at a psychiatric hospital in the Western Cape

Anathi F. Tununu, Penelope Martin
Curationis | Vol 43, No 1 | a2117 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v43i1.2117 | © 2020 Anathi F. Tununu, Penelope Martin | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 September 2019 | Published: 04 August 2020

About the author(s)

Anathi F. Tununu, School of Nursing, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Penelope Martin, School of Nursing, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Nurses are exposed to stress when working in the mental health care environment. This may be because of nurses being frontline health care providers. They develop close interpersonal relationships with mental health care users (MHCUs), which is inherent in the type of care that is provided. Mental health nursing may therefore be demanding and stressful, which could render mental health nurses susceptible to burnout.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of burnout among nurses working at a selected psychiatric hospital in the Western Cape.

Methods: A quantitative, descriptive, survey design, by using simple random sampling was used to select 198 nurses employed at a psychiatric hospital in the Western Cape, South Africa. Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey measuring emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and personal accomplishment was used to collect the data. Domain scores were calculated, and the influence of the demographic variables on the domains was tested with independent samples Kruskal–Wallis tests and Mann–Whitney U tests.

Results: The study had a 100% response rate. Most of the respondents experienced low emotional exhaustion, low depersonalisation and high personal accomplishment. Enrolled nursing assistants reported significantly higher emotional exhaustion than did the advanced psychiatric nurses and professional registered nurses. Respondents with more than 5 years of experience scored significantly higher in depersonalisation. No respondents met the criteria for burnout on all three domains.

Conclusion: Maintaining a safe working environment with adequate nursing staff is recommended. Strategies to prevent burnout in the future include the provision of resources and the promotion of open communication between staff and management.


Keywords

burnout; depersonalisation; emotional exhaustion; lack of personal accomplishment; mental health care users; nurse and prevalence

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