Analysis of the Critical Care Essay

Analysis of the Critical Care Nurse Burnout Issue in Healthcare


Critical care burnout among nurses is one of the most vital issues in the healthcare sector that requires urgent address and management. The increased rates of burnout, or rather the burnout syndrome among critical care nurses is developed from excessive and prolonged stress hence resulting in exhaustion of the physical and mental state of an individual. The increased rate of burnout among nurses is usually work-related. It tends to manifest in the inability to balance the expectations of the job and among the nurses that develop the syndrome. In this analysis, the nurse burnout issue is discussed at length with the competing needs present, and policy recommendations made following the review of three scholarly sources that provide an effective solution to the menace.

Competing Needs 

As discussed above, burnout syndrome has increased drastically among the critical nurses in their quest to perform their duties effectively; hence, making is a national stressor that affects all the involved stakeholders. Critical care nurses work for very long hours with a stressful working environment, which is characterized by traumatic encounters, morbidity, and mortality rates among the patients, stringent work schedules, and ethical practice issues. A stressful working environment is likely to result in exhaustion and fatigue, especially if it is accompanied by long working hours and high inability to maintain a balanced work-personal life. Hence, among nurses, burnout results in detrimental effects that affect the organization, patients, and the nurses among other staff and stakeholders. Burnout cases are associated with reduced quality of health care services, which results in numerous medical errors, decreased satisfaction among employees, and, most importantly, maximized rates of HCAIs and mortality cases.

In the organization, many nurses and staff have resigned, hence, increasing the turnover rates, which in most cases have been associated with increased burnout levels among the nurses. When asked the reasons for quitting, they describe the increased working pressures in the working environment that increases fatigue and stress, eventually underperforming and decreased productivity. Moreover, the nurses seem overworked and lack adequate support, for instance, of better and flexible working schedules and tools to maximize a balance in their work and personal lives. Concisely, the increased burnout cases among nurses correlate highly with the increasing turnover rates, which is invoked or motivated by the stressful working atmosphere, long working hours that result in stress and fatigue, and the flexible working schedules that minimize their work-life balance. Eventually, the nurses are ‘worn out’ mentally and physically, leading into underperformance. There is a need to provide support to the nurses through policy changes and increased human labor for flexibility and balances.

Article Review on the Relevant Policy

The rates of burnout among critical care nurses must be addressed and solved completely to reduce healthcare-acquired adverse effects and consequences. To address this issue, authors, scholars, and researchers have identified various solutions. For instance, in a systematic review article conducted on the rates of burnout in ICU, the authors develop a correlation between the burnout cases involving fatigue and stress with work environment and experience, which threatens patient treatment and care adversely (Chien-Huai Chuang, 2016). The authors suggest that enhancing the ICU working environment among the nurses could help highly reduce fatigue and burnout issues. The authors agree that the ICU working environment is susceptible or defenseless against a stressful working environment accompanied by long working hours and a high inability to maintain a balanced work-personal life, which results in exhaustion and fatigue eventually underperforming and decreased productivity.

In the other articles focusing on the prevalence of burnout syndrome among the nurses, the authors recommend extensive support of the nurses to help cope with the working environments, which would work as a coping mechanism. The authors argue that nurses can receive support from peer groups where they share their experiences and describe their traumatic events to help address the spillover effects of the stress on their mental health (Campos, 2017). Secondly, through the support and opening up, the nurses can receive mindful training that improves and enhances their levels of attentiveness and responsiveness to their duties and the needs of the patients. Through the support and training, an adaptive working environment is created (Kleinpell, 2020). Moreover, the training should emphasize teamwork, which would increase their engagement, participation, and morale resulting in decreased fatigue and stress. According to the authors, cooperation is necessary as well as building strong interpersonal relationships to help them conduct their duties and cope with the working environment.

Policy Implementation and Recommendations

Addressing the burnout issue in the organization and improving healthcare providence and satisfaction among patients requires adopting the solutions provided, including providing support, training, and education as a coping mechanism of nurses in the working conditions and improving the working environment to provide flexible and adaptable experiences among the nurses. The purpose of understanding and learning about the problem is to find effective and efficient solutions, as leaving the issues unaddressed, is likely to affect all involved stakeholders in the organization. Therefore, minimizing the burnout syndrome among nurses as well as eliminating the sources, can be effective and should be the primary goal of the organization. When improving the working environment to provide flexible and adaptable experiences among the nurses, it is essential to train nurses and other involved parties on the importance of ethical practices to avoid noncompliance and legal problems. The company should clearly communicate the expected ethical and moral standards among the staff and practices to minimize cases in the future following noncompliance, which is a source of stress among nurses.

In addition, the organization should consider developing peer groups among the nurses to enhance opening up, building relationships, networking, and forming teams. Cohesiveness, just like in a family, is essential among nurses, as it would help them address their problems by easily sharing their traumatic experiences with the ‘family’ they know at the workplace. Therefore, new departments on counseling and stress management should be introduced as well as team-building strategies to keep the team engaged and motivated. Most importantly, the organization should consider revising its hiring and selection policy to increase the labor force hence providing double or triple schedules in a day to ensure nurses do not overwork by having very long hours that contribute to the burnout syndrome.


The burnout problem among nurses must be addressed adequately as it affects the healthcare system, organizations, nurses, and patients negatively. An organization with stressed and fatigued employees, the performance, and productivity is likely to decrease, which compromises the quality of care among patients that can result in increased deaths. Moreover, it affects the wellbeing of the staff and reduces the morale to work, which affects the general performance of the organization resulting in both financial and nonfinancial consequences.


Campos, E. M. (2017). Prevalence of burnout syndrome in emergency nurses: A meta-analysis. Critical Care Nurse, Vol 37(5).

Chien-Huai Chuang, P.-C. T.-Y.-H.-Y. (2016). Burnout in the intensive care unit professionals. Journal of Medicine (Baltimore).

Kleinpell, R. M. (2020). The Critical Nature of Addressing Burnout Prevention: Results From the Critical Care Societies Collaborative’s National Summit and Survey on Prevention and Management of Burnout in the ICU. Critical Care Medicine, Vol 48(2), pp; 249-253.


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