Exploring the relationship between burnout and assertiveness in practicing nurses

Monday, 18 November 2013: 1:45 PM

Ayoade Ademuyewo, BSN
Neuro ICU, Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, Dallas, TX
Ronda D. Mintz-Binder, DNP, RN, CNE
College of Nursing, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe 3 elements of the relationship between burnout and assertiveness in practicing nurses.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to synthesize how high burnout can lead to attrition and a negative work environment for staff and patients.

The burnout phenomenon continues to be prevalent in nurses as changes in patient acuity, leadership, hospital policies, as well as heightened numbers of student nurse clinical rotations across all shifts occurs. Burnout, a long standing increased psychological response to work related stress, involves emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a sense of reduced personal accomplishment. Higher levels of assertiveness have been noted to decrease the presence of burnout in nurses in Japan.

A convenience sample of all enrolled Masters Degree Nursing students who were also working as nurses in a clinical setting were invited to participate in a survey through Survey Monkey. The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), the Short form Rathus Assertiveness Schedule (SRAS-SF), and 6 demographic questions were included. All data were imported into SPSS 19 for statistical calculations. 

125 completed surveys were returned (22%) that included 114 females and 11 males with ages ranging from 25-65 years. The majority of respondents scored either moderate or high on the emotional exhaustion (EE) subscale of burnout (56.4%; n=71). Two of three MBI subscales correlated significantly in a negative direction with the SRAS-SF scores. The least assertive group was between 25-35 years and the highest assertive group were between 36-46 years. Those who practiced in the emergency room scored higest on the SRAS-SF and those working in pediatrics were the lowest. Those who have been practicing in nursing the longest were also the most assertive. 

Discussion & Conclusions: 
Of concern is a moderate to high level of burnout in the EE subscale in this group of nurses who are simultaneously working toward a higher academic degree. Additionally, the significant correlation between high assertiveness and lower burnout is worth investigating further. Assertiveness training appears to be beneficial as an intervention to offset burnout rates and increase nurse retention in hospitals.