Essay: When everyday is a bad day

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Essay: When everyday is a bad day

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It is no big secret that there is a worldwide issue when it comes to nursing shortage. It’s been a problem that’s been around for as long as nursing became a profession. With the increase in demand for nurses continue to rise each year, it is important to dissect some of the main reasons for this problem. One major reason for the shortage is occupational burnout. The concept of occupational ‘burnout’, describing a prolonged response to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors at work, was coined in a 1974 study by US psychiatrist Herbert Freudenberger. The idea was refined by a social psychologist, Maslach (Maslach et al, 2001), but it was some time before a consensus was reached on a definition of burnout (Lei, Hee, & Dong, 2010, p. 844).

What is burnout? One definition of burnout is that it’s a complex, multifaceted phenomenon that affects aspects of the well-being of health care personnel, the quality of care and the cost of human services. It is also described as emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and a reduced level of personal accomplishments caused by long-term involvement in situations that are emotionally demanding (Gustaffson, Eriksson, Strandberg, & Norberg, 2010, p. 23-24).

As we look at the definition of burnout closer, we see that nurses are vulnerable and in a very high risk of becoming burned-out.  Being a nurse not only involves a lot of critical and quick thinking or even heavy lifting, but it also involves many emotional demands from patients and their families. Over the past 30 years, the healthcare environment has been transformed substantially. From the nursing standpoint, it has changed from disease oriented to patient-oriented. This new model of patient focused service requires nurses to provide high-quality care in a rapidly changing and uncertain environment (Lei et al., 2010). The truth of the matter is if this trend continues to go on this way, the whole world will see an increase of nurses leaving the bedside positions or even leaving the profession indefinitely due to unhappiness and job dissatisfaction.

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