Cierra Relyea



Reduce Burnout in the Critical Care Setting

Primary Investigator: Cierra Relyea, BSN, RN

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to develop, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of an educational program designed to help reduce burnout among critical care nurses.   

Methods: The use of pre-intervention surveys, an educational toolkit, and post-intervention surveys were used to collect data for this study. The pre-survey included demographic information, the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), and the Areas of Work-life survey (AWS). The MBI was used to identify burnout presence and severity among participants before and after the intervention. The AWS survey was utilized to search for a correlation between burnout and six key areas of the workplace (workload, control, reward, community, fairness and values). The educational tool created by the PI and a licensed mental health counselor was designed to teach nurses about burnout and provide effective coping mechanisms to help reduce or prevent burnout. Data was analyzed using SPS 25.0 to calculate descriptive statistics, a Wilcoxon signed-rank test, and a Pearson Correlation coefficient.  

Results: A total of 42 registered nurses in the ICU at Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center participated in this study, with 34 nurses completing the post-intervention survey. Sixty-nine percent of participants (n=29) were experiencing burnout; 48.3 percent (n=14) of those were experiencing mild burnout, 34.5 percent (n=10) had moderate burnout, and 17.2 percent (n=5) were suffering from severe burnout. There was not a significant change in scores for Emotional Exhaustion (EE) (p=0.11), Depersonalization (DP) (p-0.695), or Personal Accomplishment (PA) (p=0.120) following the educational workshop. There was no decrease in the prevalence of burnout following the intervention but there was a reduction in burnout severity among some of the nurses (32%, n=8).  The Pearson Correlation Coefficient analysis showed a significant inverse relationship between workload and emotional exhaustion (r= -.328, p < 0.05); values and emotional exhaustion (r= -.367, p < 0.05); and between values and depersonalization (r= -.353, p < 0.05). 

Discussion: The majority of nurses that participated in this study had burnout, which is consistent with the literature review with critical care nurses. The educational tool did not decrease prevalence of burnout among participants but was successful in reducing severity of burnout among some nurses. Finding ways to help reduce the workload and improve the organizations values would also help to reduce burnout.  

Conclusion: Burnout remains highly prevalent among critical care nurses. It’s imperative that more research be done to find effective solutions for reducing and preventing BOS. Educating and reinforcing effective coping strategies coupled with improving certain workplace factors would likely be an effective solution.  


Major Professor:  Susan Porterfield, PhD, FNP-C 


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