Burnout is a popular term for a mental or physical energy depletion after a period of chronic, unrelieved, job-elated stress characterised sometimes by physical illness. The person suffering from burnout may lose concern or respect for other people and often have cynical, dehumanised perceptions of people, labelling them in a derogatory manner.
Causes of burnout particular to the nursing profession often include:
- stressful, even dangerous work environments
- lack of support or respectful relationships within the health care team
- low pay scales
- shift changes and long work hours
- understaffing of hospitals
- the responsibility of providing high levels of care over long periods
- frustration, disillusionment from the reality of the job not meeting your expectations.
Source: Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 9th edition. © 2009, Elsevier