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A Comparison of Burnout Among Oncology Nurses Working in Adult and Pediatric Inpatient and Outpatient Settings

Shoni Davis

Bonnie K. Lind

Celeste Sorensen

burnout, oncology nurses, outpatient setting, self-care
ONF 2013, 40(4), E303-E311. DOI: 10.1188/13.ONF.E303-E311

Purpose/Objectives: To investigate differences in burnout among oncology nurses by type of work setting, coping strategies, and job satisfaction.

Design: Descriptive.

Setting: A metropolitan cancer center.

Sample: A convenience sample of 74 oncology nurses.

Methods: Participants completed a demographic data form, the Nursing Satisfaction and Retention Survey, and the Maslach Burnout Inventory.

Main Research Variables: Burnout, coping strategies, job satisfaction, and oncology work setting (inpatient versus outpatient and adult versus pediatric).

Findings: The participants most often used spirituality and coworker support to cope. Emotional exhaustion was lowest for youngest nurses and highest for outpatient RNs. Personal accomplishment was highest in adult settings. Job satisfaction correlated inversely with emotional exhaustion and the desire to leave oncology nursing.

Conclusions: The findings support that the social context within the work environment may impact emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, and that demographics may be more significant in determining burnout than setting.

Implications for Nursing: The findings raise questions of whether demographics or setting plays a bigger role in burnout and supports organizational strategies that enhance coworker camaraderie, encourage nurses to discuss high-stress situations, and share ways to manage their emotions in oncology settings.

Knowledge Translation: Spirituality and coworker relationships were positive coping strategies among oncology nurses to prevent emotional exhaustion. Nurses who rely on supportive social networks as a coping mechanism have lower levels of depersonalization. Age was inversely related to emotional exhaustion.

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