Stress and Burnout in Nursing

Stress and burnout are major issues affecting nursing practice. Stress and burnout result from unsuccessfully managed stress in the workplace. According to Kim (2020), stress and burnout in nursing are characterized by energy reduction in nurses. It manifests in emotional exhaustion, inadequate motivation, and feeling frustrated.

Stress and Burnout in Nursing

Stress and burnout in nursing are known to reduce work efficacy, negatively influencing the nurses’ mental health and physical well-being. Stress and burnout are mainly associated with nursing staff shortages for the education faculty and the field practitioners. Various studies and research have been carried out on the issue. This discussion presents findings from one study on the same and a proposed solution for the issue.

The article selected for this discussion is “The Role of Occupational Stress in the Association between Emotional labor and Burnout in Nurses- A Cross-sectional Study” by Zaghini et al. (2020). The study aimed to evaluate the influence of emotional labor on burnout and the role of work-related stress reported by nursing staff.

The study’s findings include that high levels of emotional labor and work-related stress in nurses contribute to burnout syndrome, affecting their quality of life and the quality of care they provide to the patients. Oncology nurses were found to have the highest levels of emotional labor and work-related stress, mainly due to the relationships they are required to maintain with the patients and the nurse shortage in oncology departments, leaving them with heavy workloads.

Additionally, work-related stress mediates emotional labor and burnout in nurses. The study’s findings confirmed the hypotheses. Most of the nurses who were found to have experiences burnout and burnout syndrome had been subjected to unbearable emotional labor before, leading to work-related stress.

Furthermore, nurses are usually on the receiving end of emotional labor. As one of the most approachable healthcare professionals, nurses are subjected to daily emotional demands by patients and their families (Zaghini et al., 2020). These patients and their families find themselves in painful situations whereby they depend on the nurses to comfort and support them. Thus, nurses are often expected to suppress their emotions and primarily care for the patient’s needs first, which may lead to chronic distress, thus, burnout syndrome.

According to Waddill-Goad (2019), stress and burnout in nursing can be addressed by nursing managers and leaders taking the initiative to create a conducive working environment for the nurses and addressing nursing shortages and high workloads, major contributors to work-related stress. Additionally, the issue can be addressed by carrying out training and stress-management programs to reduce work-related stress in nurses, especially those in high-risk departments such as oncology.

The leaders and management can also encourage nurses to get counseling and often share their experiences with colleagues and psychiatrists to avoid chronic distress. It is also important for nursing managers and leaders to create a nurses’ reward system so that nurses can stay motivated and easily avoid frustrations. High-risk areas such as oncology should be allocated more nurses, thus avoiding work-related stress.

In conclusion, stress and burnout in nursing are major issues that should be addressed. It contributes to the poor life quality of the nurses by putting their mental health and physical well-being at stake. It also affects the quality of care the nurses provide, affecting the health institution’s overall performance. Nurse leaders and managers should intervene and address the issue.                 


Kim, J. S. (2020). Emotional labor strategies, stress, and burnout among hospital nurses: a path analysis. Journal of Nursing Scholarship52(1), 105-112.

Waddill-Goad, S. M. (2019). Stress, fatigue, and burnout in nursing. Journal of Radiology Nursing38(1), 44-46.

Zaghini, F., Biagioli, V., Proietti, M., Badolamenti, S., Fiorini, J., & Sili, A. (2020). The role of occupational stress in the association between emotional labor and burnout in nurses: A cross-sectional study. Applied Nursing Research, 151277.