Burnout among nursing staff in accident and emergency and acute medicine: a comparative study

M Gillespie, Vidar Melby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Citations (Scopus)


This study was designed to identify the prevalence of burnout among nurses working in Accident and Emergency (A & E) and acute medicine, to establish factors that contribute to stress and burnout, to determine the experiences of nurses affected by it and highlight its effects on patient care and to determine if stress and burnout have any effects on individuals outside the clinical setting. A triangulated research design was used incorporating quantitative and qualitative methods. Maslach Burnout Inventory was used. Nurses working in acute medicine experienced higher levels of emotional exhaustion than their A & E counterparts. The overall level of depersonalization was low. High levels of personal accomplishment were experienced less by junior members of staff. Stress and burnout have far reaching effects both for nurses in their clinical practice and personal lives. If nurses continue to work in their current environment without issues being tackled, then burnout will result. The science of nursing does not have to be painful, but by recognition of the existence of stress and burnout we can take the first steps towards their prevention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)842-851
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Nov 2003


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