Burnout in Nursing and Its Impact on Patient Care

Topic: Nursing
Words: 1095 Pages: 4


Nurses are particularly susceptible to burnout and role pressure in their workplace. Every year, almost 38% of nurses report feeling burned out (Nicholas et al., 2018). When nurses are constantly overworked, underappreciated, and under-supported, their quality of care suffers, and they become less effective caretakers. Patient safety is jeopardized when nurses are overworked and overstressed. There are ethical and legal difficulties that result from inadequate patient care. In this essay, I will show how stress and pressure in this field may affect patients and the outcomes for nurses. In addition, I will share my own story of burnout and how I overcame it.

Patient Care

When nurses feel stress or burnout, patient safety can suffer. Burned-out nurses put their patients in danger, and the safety of the patients is not assured. A stressed nurse reduces patient care and safety; in other cases, patients do not notice the shift in treatment when nurses are strained, and some provide reliable care. Most of the time, patient care quality declines when nurses are stressed. Inattention, mental weariness, and lethargy can cause nurses to overlook important tasks (Nicholas et al., 2018). Some nurses become cynical about their jobs, leaving them prone to aggression or agitation when caring for patients. Aggression and attitudes can damage patient satisfaction, which is vital for quality care.

Nurse burnout and role strain enhance patient discontent, and overworked nurses feel weariness, affecting patient care. In such cases, patient health is in danger from mistakes (Nicholas et al., 2018). As their attention wanes, nurses may provide the wrong medicine to a patient. A weary nurse may neglect certain patients, raising their health risks. Due to poor supervision, nursing burnout may potentially lead patients to develop new illnesses. Substandard services result in unhappy patients who have poor outcomes.

Burnout and job strain cause staff shortages and nurse turnover. 1 in 5 new nurses resigns within the first year, according to the Registered Nurse Network (Nicholas et al., 2018). This poll makes the nurses leave due to overwork, and understaffed healthcare institutions put a strain on available providers. These nurses work excessive hours, leading to burnout, and they may dislike their facilities or supervisors. If the problem is not fixed, the nurse may quit, adding to the workload. Staff shortages affect patient outcomes because available nurses cannot satisfy their demands.

According to medical ethics’ non-maleficence principle, patients must be safeguarded from harm. Ethically, nurses should prioritize patient safety; therefore, when a nurse is tired, she cannot operate correctly. Nurses must not mistreat patients, promote their well-being, and minimize harm to preserve the beneficence concept (Okuhara et al., 2021). Nurses must treat patients with respect and care to improve their health. Nurse burnout may not have these symptoms, and stress at work may make them rude to patients. Therefore, the ethical norm becomes challenging to follow.

Burnout and stress on nurses can lead to medical malpractice claims. Fatigued nurses make more medical blunders, they may injure patients, and the healthcare practitioner and institution may be accountable. When nurses choose patients to prevent burnout, this is considered unethical. In the ICU, nurses face several challenges and may ponder if the patient’s life is more crucial (Nardi & Gyurko, 2019). Nurses face ethical challenges that necessitate harsh judgments as nurses care for patients.

Managing Burnout in Nursing and Solutions

Burnout requires organizational and professional help; as a preventative step, address burnout with coworkers so they may share their experiences. The nurse’s colleagues can provide advice to corporate management. Healthy activities like frequent exercise and a balanced diet can avoid burnout (Nardi & Gyurko, 2019). Physical activity restores energy and reduces stress. Proper eating habits help individuals stay healthy and have more power, which improves their work. Food and exercise can enhance a nurse’s physical and emotional health while reducing burnout.

Putting patients’ health above their own might lead to burnout for nurses. Most nurses feel nursing is their vocation and should put others’ needs first. Research shows that nurses who choose the job because of their convictions are always pleased to connect with patients’ relatives (Nardi & Gyurko, 2019). Identifying the nurse’s stress may involve discussing everyday stressful occurrences. More extended workdays may be as a result of understaffing. Talking with corporate management may help nurses realize that patient care and safety are more essential than excessive hours. Research suggests that deep breathing may assist in relieving tension (Okuhara et al., 2021). Brain oxygen boosts the parasympathetic stress-relieving. Nurses must manage stress to offer high-quality care to patients.

Personal Experience

One of the busiest hospitals that was located in Florida, USA, employed me. In total, there were just six of us working in the hospital. Many people were coming in and out of the institution daily. Starting the day with a long commute since we had to serve both inpatients and outpatients meant traveling all over the place. I felt energized and eager to begin working at a healthcare center from the very beginning. It became increasingly difficult to keep up as the number of patients coming to the clinic increased.

Several patients were ill, therefore it was a trying time. Since an emergency may arise at the institution at any hour of the day or night, I began to have difficulty sleeping. I would work 18 hours a day at the hospital for certain patients to ensure that they received excellent patient care. Depression and headaches began to plague me; when my coworkers found themselves in similar situations, we decided to ask the organization to recruit extra nurses to guarantee that patients received the best possible treatment. The management looked at the problem, and two additional nurses were employed. It is advantageous since we would be able to work in shifts and during more reasonable hours. We would be able to get enough sleep and feel satisfied with our work. As a result of this realization, I knew that appropriate rest was essential for the proper performance of my duties.


Role strain and burnout are two of the most significant challenges nurses face when caring for their patients. Workers who become burned out tend to become unsatisfied with their jobs, leading to their quitting. As a result, patients are more likely to be disappointed with their care because of burnout (Nardi & Gyurko, 2019). Nurses are more likely to commit mistakes that violate their ethical standards and lead to lawsuits due to burnout. Various methods may combat burnout, including physical activity and good eating habits, and talking about the issue with friends and family.


Nicholas, S. C., Collette, W., Jarden, R. J., Sandham, M., Siegert, R. J., & Koziol-McLain, J. (2018). Role strain among male RNs in the critical care setting: Perceptions of an unfriendly workplace. Nursing in Critical Care, 24(1), 15-23.

Nardi, D. A., & Gyurko, C. C. (2019). The global nursing faculty shortage: Status and solutions for change. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 45(3), 317-326.

Okuhara, M., Sato, K., & Kodama, Y. (2021). The nurses’ occupational stress components and outcomes, findings from an integrative review. Nursing Open, 8(5), 2153-2174.

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