Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief
Stress is a fact of nursing and there have been many studies of stress in nursing; in fact, some of the earliest studies on occupational stress have involved nurses. Stress can be considered a necessity; without some stress we may lack motivation and those who appear to suffer no stress can seem 'laid back' and ineffective. But stress can be harmful with adverse physiological and psychological effects. One of the poor outcomes of long-term stress is burnout which leads to emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and lack of personal achievement. An Australian study by Hayes et al. (2014), titled Predicting emotional exhaustion among haemodialysis nurses: a structural equation model using Kanter’s structural empowerment theory and published in JAN, investigates what can mediate one aspect of burnout in a specific group of nurses.
The methods used in the study involved administering questionnaires to measure work environment, job satisfaction, stress and burnout and the data were then mathematically modelled using the technique of structural equation modelling.
Work environment influenced job satisfaction and this in turn influenced stress. Job satisfaction also indirectly influenced emotional exhaustion. In the conclusion to their abstract, Hayes et al. say:
'The work environment of haemodialysis nurses is pivotal to the development of job satisfaction. Nurses’ job satisfaction also predicts their level of job stress and emotional exhaustion. Our findings suggest staff retention can be improved by creating empowering work environments that promote job satisfaction among haemodialysis nurses.'
Hayes B, Douglas C, Bonner A (2014) Predicting emotional exhaustion among haemodialysis nurses: a structural equation model using Kanter’s structural empowerment theory Journal of Advanced Nursing doi:10.1111/jan.12452