Burnout and work environments of public health nurses involved in mental health care

Imai, H.; Nakao, H.; Tsuchiya, M.; Kuroda, Y.; Katoh, T.
September 2004
Occupational & Environmental Medicine;Sep2004, Vol. 61 Issue 9, p764
Academic Journal
Aims: (1) To examine whether prevalence of burnout is higher among community psychiatric nurses working under recently introduced job specific work systems than among public health nurses (PHNs) engaged in other public health services. (2) To identify work environment factors potentially contributing to burnout. Methods: Two groups were examined. The psychiatric group comprised 525 PHNs primarily engaged in public mental health services at public health centres (PHCs) that had adopted the job specific work system. The control group comprised 525 PHNs primarily engaged in other health services. Pines' Burnout Scale was used to measure burnout. Respondents were classified by burnout score into three groups: A (mentally stable, no burnout); B (positive signs, risk of burnout); and C (burnout present, action required). Groups B and C were considered representative of "burnout". A questionnaire was also prepared to investigate systems for supporting PHNs working at PHCs and to define emergency mental health service factors contributing to burnout. Results: Final respondents comprised 785 PHNs. Prevalence of burnout was significantly higher in the psychiatric group (59.2%) than in the control group (51.5%). Responses indicating lack of job control and increased annual frequency of emergency overtime services were significantly correlated with prevalence of burnout in the psychiatric group, but not in the control group. Conclusions: Prevalence of burnout is significantly higher for community psychiatric nurses than for PHNs engaged in other services. Overwork in emergency services and lack of job control appear to represent work environment factors contributing to burnout.


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