Essay Sample on Nurse Burnout: Theoretical Foundations and Conclusions

Published: 2023-01-22
Essay Sample on Nurse Burnout: Theoretical Foundations and Conclusions
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Stress Mental health Nursing management Nursing care Human services
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 948 words
8 min read


In the nursing profession, nurse burnout is a major professional issue. From different research studies and data interpretation, it has been found that nurse burnout is a serious issue that negatively affects nursing duty. The common themes from the study of these articles are compassion, depression, patient satisfaction, and workplace tension and stress. Nurses need to find a way in which to deal with the situation to maintain their mental, physical, and emotional well-being. The essay provides an analysis of the theoretical and conceptual models of how nurses can deal with stressors and pressure at work without affecting the quality of their services (Henry, 2014).

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Theoretical Connections

Two theoretical nursing conceptual models will be discussed concerning nurse burnout when providing nursing services to patients. These theories help guide nurses to understand how they can deal with stress at the workplace to endure mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. These interventions can serve as reference points for nursing organizations to deal with the issue of nurse burnout (Henry, 2014). The theoretical conceptions and models to be discussed in the essay are the Neuman's system theory and Kanter's theory on structural empowerment.

Theory One

Betty Neuman formulated the Neuman Systems theory in 2002 based on her viewpoint of helping one another to live. She was influenced by other scientific fields of study to make it as well as her nursing profession. The theory provides a systematic approach in which the field of nursing is viewed in different perspectives of humans, environment, health, and nursing. The model applicable to the issue of nurse burnout is the wellness-illness continuum (Turner and Kaylor, 2015). The continuum states that health rises and falls in a lifespan. These changes are indicators of responses to the stressors in the environment. The model also identifies the stressors that can lead to nurse burnout (Spooner-Lane and Patton, 2007). Thus, the theory provides the basis of discovering nurse resilience to enable them to deal with the exhaustion (Richez, 2014). The model allows the nurses to achieve positive client outcomes even when exhausted. The model requires the nurse to consider the patients' background and unique circumstances (Turner and Kaylor, 2015).

Theory Two

The second theory was conceptualized by Kanter, and it emphasizes on the arrangement of an organization rather than the qualities of an individual to combat stress and exhaustion. The theory states that the performance of individuals in an organization would increase if their superiors empower them to do away with job dissatisfaction (Aiken et al., 2002). According to Kanter, there is formal and informal power in an organization (Sarmiento, Laschinger, and Iwasiw, 2004). The formal power is one that requires individual decision making while the informal power is from relationships with one's cohorts at the workplace. The theory is applicable in the issue of nurse burnout because it gives the management of a nursing organization strategies that they apply to guide the practice and improve efficacy (Sarmiento, Laschinger, and Iwasiw, 2004). By empowering the nurses using the theory, it has been discovered that there is increased job satisfaction, commitment, and trust, which improves morale.

Concluding Reflections

The studies that have been carried out on nurse burnout have shown that it is a major professional issue that affects the profession as well as the professionals in the field (Whitehead et al., 2010). It is essential for nurses to understand that the art of providing patient care involves them physically, mentally, and emotionally. Thus exhaustion should not steer them away from their sole objectives. It is because nurses get compassionate with the patient and thus get emotionally attached. The inadequacy of staff has forced the nursing fraternity to be assigned more work than they can handle. Thus, nurse burnouts are part and parcel of the profession. However, the nurses should be protected from these stressful situations by education (Henry, 2014). It can be done by using strategies that ensure they are not exposed to physical, mental, and emotional torture.

Each reviewed article in the milestones covered showed that nurse burnout is a real issue which is manageable. In my experience, nurse burnout arises from different work related factors. These include dealing with patients in distress, regular death, and grieving families who have lost a loved one or those with a chronically ill patient (Henry, 2014). Besides, the long shifts that last more than twelve hours a day may become overwhelming. To overcome the stressors, the nurse should learn to be resilient and also collaboratively work with others in providing care to patients. Also, one should seek medical attention when symptoms of burnout manifest. These symptoms include irritability, exhaustion, and intolerance to work.

Final Conclusions

Statistical evidence and experience support the existence of nurse burnout. Nurse burnout has severe impacts on patient care services (Aiken et al., 2002). It leads to exhaustion and low work tolerance, and thus, it should be dealt with appropriately. For the nurses to provide patient care, they should be in healthy physical, emotional, and mental state. Thus, strategies to prevent nurse burnout in the nursing profession should be emphasized to improve their efficacy.


Aiken, L. H., Clarke, S. P., Sloane, D. M., Sochalski, J., & Silber, J. H. (2002). Hospital nurse staffing and patient mortality, nurse burnout, and job dissatisfaction. Jama, 288(16), 1987-1993.

Henry, B. J. (2014). Nursing Burnout Interventions. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 18(2).

Richez, M. (2014). Resilience-building strategies for nurses in transition. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 45(2), 54-55.

Sarmiento, T. P., Laschinger, H. K. S., & Iwasiw, C. (2004). Nurse educators' workplace empowerment, burnout, and job satisfaction: testing Kanter's theory. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 46(2), 134-143.

Spooner-Lane, R., & Patton, W. (2007). Determinants of burnout among public hospital nurses. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 25(1), 8.

Whitehead, D. K., Weiss, S. A., & Tappen, R. M. (2010). Essentials of nursing leadership and management. FA Davis. 27, 197

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