The prevalence of burnout was found to be high among primary care nurses, especially those who are younger in age, experience anxiety and depression, and present high levels of neuroticism and low levels of agreeableness, responsibility, and extraversion, according to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Researchers in Granada, Spain, conducted a cross-sectional study of 338 nurses (median age, 45.92 years; 58% women) by deploying a research questionnaire that analyzed sociodemographic and employment-related variables. Burnout was measured using the Maslach Burnout Inventory instrument and measured the frequency of certain dimensions on a Likert scale (from zero [never] to 6 [every day]. The revised NEO personality inventory was used to assess traits such as neuroticism, agreeableness, and extraversion; an anxiety and depression questionnaire was also distributed to the participants.

Approximately three-quarters (76.6%) of participants worked a fixed shift (morning, afternoon, or evening), and 86.8% performed on-call duties. Participants were employed for an average of 127.67 months in their respective positions and had an average of 273.66 months of professional seniority as nurses.

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A high level of burnout was seen in 40.24% of nurses; dimensions of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization were prominently found in participants with anxiety, depression, neuroticism, on-call duty, and professional seniority. Depersonalization was significantly associated with gender while emotional exhaustion correlated inversely with age.

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“This profile of [primary health care] nurses that may be more prone to burnout syndrome should be taken into account by healthcare managers to establish preventive measures,” the authors concluded. “The implementation of measures to improve the working conditions of [primary health care] nurses would reduce levels of burnout and, therefore, enhance the quality of care provided.”


Ortega-Campos E, Cañadas-De la Fuente GA, Albendín-García L, Gómez-Urquiza JL, Monsalve-Reyes C, de la Fuente-Solana EI. A multicentre study of psychological variables and the prevalence of burnout among primary health care nurses [published online September 4, 2019). Int J Environ Res Public Health. doi: 0.3390/ijerph16183242