Burnout in nurses working in Portuguese palliative care teams: A mixed methods study

International journal of palliative nursing 08/2012; 18(8):373-81. DOI: 10.12968/ijpn.2012.18.8.373
Source: PubMed


Repeat contact with suffering, dying, and death is considered to be a risk factor for burnout among health professionals, particularly nurses working in palliative care. A mixed methods study was conducted to identify burnout levels, risk and protective factors, prevention strategies, and the emotional impact of working in palliative care among nurses in Portugal. A quantitative questionnaire was completed by nursing members of nine different palliative care teams and was supported by interviews and observation. Although the participants were exposed to risk factors, such as work overload, disorganisation, difficult relationships within the team and with patients' relatives, they showed a low risk of burnout. These results appear to be related both to the protective factors identified-namely the ethic of care in the relationship the nurses establish with patients, families, and within their teams-and to the preventive strategies they actively adopt for burnout prevention. The positive aspects of the nurses' roles help them to build a positive view of their work, which also promotes their own personal and professional development.

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Available from: Sandra Martins Pereira, Sep 24, 2015
    • "Contrary to expectations, Payne (2001) identified low levels of burnout in 89 palliative care nurses from nine hospitals, while Slone and Stephany (1995) suggested that providing palliative care to terminally ill patients with AIDS could cause more stress than providing care to other types of terminally ill patients. Pereira et al. (2011) in a systematic review show the burnout levels in palliative care, or in health care setting related to this field, do not seem to be higher than in other contexts and also Pereira et al. (2012) in a portuguese sample found that, although the participants were exposed to the risk factors, such as work overload, disorganisation, difficult, relationships within the team and with patients' relatives, they showed a low risk of burnout. Burnout is a response to occupational stress that arises when functional strategies of coping fail and it acts as a mediating variable between perceived stress and its consequences (Maslach and Leiter, 2000). "
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