The burnout study of nursing is extensive and ongoing. Evidently, nurses are either burning out or burned out. However, when does the burning out begin, nursing school? Graduate nursing? Beginning practice? Or possibly later, after many years of practice?
There is an ongoing study of nursing students’ burnout, however, without the extensive history that is found in nurse burnout study. The most recent research of nursing student burnout suggests that it may start in nursing school (Ching, Cheung & Rees, 2020; Rios-Risquez et al., 2016; Robins, Roberts & Sarris, 2018; Valero- Chillerón et al., 2019).
If burnout does start in nursing school for nursing students, the questions of immediate thought are many, is burnout and the nursing student personality or some other personal factor of the nursing student need investigation (Majerníková, 2017)? Is it the environment either societal, home, or school (Njim et al., 2018)? Is the presentation or volume of information required? Or the teaching approach? Nursing student perception of instruction and/or supervision? And/or other nursing school factors such as clinical learning leading to burnout in nursing students (Babenko-Mould & Laschinger, 2014)?
I discovered the articles reporting the study of nursing students’ burnout when conducting a literature search for my doctorate study topic: Nursing Faculty Burnout. The discovery caused another avalanche of thought, and the question: Is the nursing faculty burnout related to nursing student burnout? A literature search of nursing student burnout using CINAHL Complete, Academic Search Complete, and Gale Academic OneFile with peer review and 2017-2020 as limiters revealed 549 research articles. However, none were of nursing faculty burnout and nursing student burnout. Why? If nursing faculty are experiencing burnout symptoms of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment would that influence nursing student stress and present modeling of burnout behavior creating students at increased risk for burnout?
Moreover, of greater prevalence particularly recently is the study of nursing student incivility, violence, bullying, and aggression (Hogan et al., 2018; Hostetier, 2019; Streiff, 2019). Is nursing burnout and/or nursing faculty burnout factors in this extreme behavior? Nursing faculty burnout has been linked to the nursing faculty shortage and further has been linked to the global nurse shortage (AACN, 2019; WHO, 2017; WHOA, 2018). The nurse shortage creates an environment that exacerbates the burnout factors with overwork and overburdening demands that lead to chronically incomplete tasks. That environment causes an increase in suffering and decreased safety for patients that are unacceptable to the caring nurse. The typical nursing faculty member has 20 years of experience before joining the ranks of academia. Burnout tends to stick like burrs. Nursing faculty burned out leads to less nursing faculty. Less nursing faculty causes fewer openings for nursing students to attend nursing school. Moreover, it results in nursing student exposure to burned-out nursing faculty (AACN, 2019). The nursing student after experiencing nursing faculty modeling burnout behavior, exposed to the nursing school environment graduates to hire into the selfsame situation that caused the nursing faculty members’ burnout some twenty years previous. Is that circular linkage a factor?
Further, is resilience as the counterpoint to burnout a factor? There are a few, mostly recent, studies of resilience, nurses, and nursing students as a predictor of burnout experience with interesting results. Garcia-Izquierdo et al. (2018) in a study of 218 nursing students found a significant relationship between resilience, burnout, and psychological health. Brown (2018) conducted an integrative review of the impact of resiliency on nurse burnout that yielded yet more interesting and positive recommendations.
What is happening in nursing schools? The nursing faculty burnout survey that I will be posting for allnurses.com members to complete will have some interesting outcomes? Will it not?
There are many more questions I am sure that will occur to others. Previous articles regarding nursing students and nursing faculty have instigated comments and exchange of ideas here in allnurses.com, I hope for more.