1 Escola Suerior de Saúde de Viseu (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 7937-7947
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
Burnout syndrome, defined by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and personal fulfillment, refers to a professional’s state of chronic physical and emotional fatigue, which may compromise the functioning of organizations. The aim of this study is to look into burnout syndrome in nurses employed in Portuguese health services, specifically in specialist nurses who work in rehabilitation nursing, aimed at patients with cardio-respiratory, neurological and musculoskeletal disorders.

We conducted a cross-sectional, descriptive-correlational and quantitative study, in which 117 specialist nurses in rehabilitation nursing participated. They were mostly female (76.9%), married (60%), with over 15 years of professional experience (48.7%), and aged between 27 and 57 years (M=41.68 years SD=0.67). To measure the variables, we used the following instruments: the Maslach Burnout Inventory (Maslach & Jackson, 1981); the General Job Satisfaction Scale (Barton et al.,1992); RSES – The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1989).

The results obtained from the Maslach Burnout Inventory indicated the absence of burnout syndrome. There are medium burnout levels, sustained by the low scores obtained in the dimension “emotional exhaustion” (<11.7); the average scores in the dimension “depersonalization” (<8.7) and high scores in the dimension “personal/professional fulfillment” (<30.10).
With regard to the effect of some variables, we find that:
(i) age showed no significant correlations with any of the dimensions;
(ii) the same happened for academic degree and sex;
(iii) as regards length of professional experience in the field, it was found that there are significant differences only for emotional exhaustion; that is, the current trend is that nurses with less experience are more prone to higher burnout scores;
(iv) with respect to the type of contractual relationship with the health organization where they work no significant correlations were found in any of the dimensions. However, as regards the type of timetable practiced, it was found that there are significant effects on the dimension “personal/professional fulfillment”, which showed a tendency for higher scores for nurses who pursue fixed working hours and not by turnovers;
(v) there is also a significant relationship between the variable self-esteem and all of the dimensions of the Burnout Inventory.

Based on the assumption that the burnout phenomenon may not only be seen as an individual problem but primarily as an organizational problem, it is important that health organizations be aware of the vulnerability for this type of problem among nurses, enhanced by the type of work they perform. It is, therefore, desirable to be alert and to use preventive and educational strategies to cope with burnout when it appears.
Burnout, nurses, rehabilitation, prevention, education.