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Role Strain and Burnout in Nursing

Nurses characteristically place much importance on dedicating their lives to improving the physical and emotional wellbeing of others. Most fundamentally, this care inclines to positively and negatively affect their wellbeing. Essentially, health amenities and individual caregivers have and continue reporting shortages in staffing, challenging governmental regulations, and the evolution of new, multifaceted roles and responsibilities (Varpio et al., 2018). The identified problems play a significant role in instigating role stress or strain and nurse burnout, which ultimately destabilizes the delivery of quality care to the patients. The issues in question further lead to legal and ethical issues that tamper with comprehensive care (Varpio et al., 2018). In other words, burnout and workplace stress unfavorably influence individual caregivers, particularly when it comes to their attainments because it dents their role sufficiency and comprehension of roles.

Impacts of Role Strain and Stress on Nurses.

Generally, stress and strain play a significant role in enhancing the quality of life and performance levels. However, excess role strain and stress are detrimental. Though role stress is an essential part of the daily experiences of nurses, it inclines to lose its valuable impact when it becomes overwhelming. Extreme role strain has devastating impacts on the caregiver since it denies them the aptitude required for attaining a broad range of duties, meaning they become unproductive, inefficient, and inadequate. A stressed caregiver is increasingly likely to become apathetic, make uncharacteristic blunders, become apathetic, and develop feelings of anxiety and demotivation. Stress among nurses is increasingly connected to diminished concern for workmates and the organization. Usually, a less concerned caregiver typically demonstrates decreased performances and surged absenteeism. Additionally, nurses that anticipate or encounter ongoing stress usually eat poorly and engage in drug and substance abuse. Essentially, role stress results in behavioral change among nurses, which exacerbates deprived wellness conditions. Accordingly, role stress leads to an increased turnover rate in health facilities and job dissatisfaction.

Impacts of Role Strain on Patient care

Role strain is linked to retrogressive patient and health outcomes. Nurse stress is correlated with increased rates of infection, poor patient care, increased medical blunders, increased rates of mortality and morbidity, and high scopes of patient discontent (Zaghini et al., 2020). A nurse exhibiting stress or strain is likely to make a wider range of medical blunders and are less concerned about the safety of the patients and the treatment objectives. The errors made by these nurses are likely to cause retrogressive impacts on the general wellbeing of the patients. The errors may lead to the death of the patients and permanent deformities and thus affect the general functionality of the affected patients (Varpio et al., 2018). Consequently, the nurses and healthcare facilities may face lawsuits for causing damages to patients, which goes against the nursing code of ethics, the principle of nonmaleficence, where nurses are not supposed to cause damage to their patients (Zaghini et al., 2020). Thus, nurse stress could result in detrimental consequences to the general health outcomes of the patients.

Strain Management

Various measures can be adopted to manage stress and strain among nurses. Nurses are advised to talk about their workstation stressors. Talking about the stressors offers affected nurses an opportunity to recognize, identify and address them by adopting appropriate mechanisms (Zaghini et al., 2020). For example, most caregivers usually have difficult days because of insufficient staffing. However, they do not discuss the problem by blaming the excess duties. While discussing the issue, they remain positioned well un discovering that amenity management had evolved a lax tactic for staff wellness and patient safety. After identifying the underlying issue, caregivers can solve it by reminding the management to recognize and integrate feasible communication in the establishment and alleviate the situation (Zaghini et al., 2020). Therefore, talking about workplace stressors helps find feasible solutions to the existing problems.

Issues Leading to Nurse Burnout and Solutions

Nurse burnout is caused by various occupational, psychographic, socio-demographic, and occupational factors. However, the leading causes of nurse burnout are long shifts, role ambiguity, and heavy workload (Brečka et al., 2018). Widely, nurses cite long working hours as the leading cause of burnout and fatigue. Some nurses work for longer hours, up to 12 hours daily. Others work overtime because of shortages in staffing or have challenges leaving their workstations on time. Because of this extreme workload and the inability to rest, the nurses are likely to experience fatigue. They are increasingly likely to make medical blunders, thus risking the patients’ safety and undermining the organization’s ability to achieve the premeditated clinical outcomes (Brečka et al., 2018). Briefly, long shifts result in tiredness and disinterestedness from work. Given swift technological advancements, nursing roles in contemporary society have surged in recent years. The multifaceted nature of nursing has resulted in role ambiguity, with facility managers failing to outline exact roles for their personnel (Brečka et al., 2018). Consequently, this has resulted in confusion since caregivers combine roles, making their work complicated, burdensome, and multifaceted. Thus, the inability to elucidate roles makes the working setting hectic, thus resulting in burnout.

Various measures can be adopted as solutions to the causes of nurse burnout. Nurses can solve the burnout problem due to overwork by physically remaining active and asking the authorities to hire more caregivers (Dall’Ora et al., 2020). Although nurses would be pessimistic about engaging in physical exercises after a twelve-hour shift, research shows that physical activity decreases stress and burnout. Generally, exercising reduces cortisol and adrenaline and boosts endorphins. Additionally, exercising boosts energy, thus addressing exhaustion. Healthcare amenities should invest more in recruiting additional nurses and nurse assistants (Dall’Ora et al., 2020). Additionally, caregivers and other stakeholders should elucidate the issue of role ambiguity by defining, evaluating, appraising, and assigning evident roles for varied kinds of nurses. By doing so, nurses would find an opportunity to document enhanced performances in the areas of specialization, thus reducing burnout as they would enjoy what they do.

Personal Burnout Experience and Solution

One of the most challenging situations that I encountered at my workplace was handling a difficult Romanian patient who was continuously complaining of pains. During this difficult time, I sought all available avenues with the main objective being to address the patient’s needs, yet he remained aggressive and obstinate. I used my caregiving acquaintance, know-how, and skills about his aching, which bore insignificant results. Over time, I felt stressed while attending to the patient and others. I even thought I was pursuing the wrong profession.

Having had challenges solving the issue, I sought assistance from more experienced caregivers in the hospital, especially the nurse manager. Additionally, I brainstormed and noted that the incident required appropriate care and reassurance. To ensure that my verdicts and actions would be appropriate, I engaged a doctor to manage pain. Besides consulting with the physician and the nurse manager, I sympathetically and empathetically listened to the patient. I assured him that our amenity would use all accessible resources to enhance his condition. After one week, the patient had fully recuperated, which made me feel motivated. I comprehended that the patient required a soft tactic and conferring with appropriate providers to fulfill his emotional and physical needs. The occasion challenged me in reconsidering my approaches when treating patients, particularly those that are likely to cause fatigue.


Brečka, T. A., Vňuková, M., Raboch, J., & Ptáček, R. (2018). Burnout Syndrome Among Medical Professionals: Looking for Solutions. Activitas Nervosa Superior60(2), 33-39.

Dall’Ora, C., Ball, J., Reinius, M., & Griffiths, P. (2020). Burnout in nursing: a theoretical review. Human resources for health18, 1-17.

Varpio, L., Ray, R., Dong, T., Hutchinson, J., & Durning, S. J. (2018). Expanding the Conversation on Burnout Through Conceptions of Role Strain and Role Conflict. Journal of graduate medical education10(6), 620-623.

Zaghini, F., Biagioli, V., Proietti, M., Badolamenti, S., Fiorini, J., & Sili, A. (2020). The role of occupational stress in the association between emotional labor and burnout in nurses: A cross-sectional study. Applied nursing research54, 151277.


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