Oncology Nurses Burnout – Care Example

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"Oncology Nurses Burnout" is an engrossing example of a paper on care. Burnout is signified as one of the psychological syndromes whereby interpersonal stressors act as stimuli to arouse chronic conditions for those on the job. The concept which emerged in the 1970s involves three dimensions i. e. individual, interpersonal and self-evaluative in terms of impact. However, the individual stressors are the most impactful stimuli which deplete the victim of emotional energies (Sommer 1981). The nurses working in the oncology department go through such burnout responses on a routine basis, given the nature of the job.

In addition, compassion fatigue is also triggered as a result of burnout response which implies that the nurses suffer from the extreme condition of tension and distress which occurs due to the pre-occupation with those suffering from chronic illnesses often leading to death. Symptoms signifying burnout include anger, exhaustion, and frustration, even depression which may also accompany other negative indicators of traumatic stress. Thus, nurses working in the oncology department often care for patients suffering from cancer, where the survival rate is often unpromising. Since the nurses emotionally get attached to their patients who they eventually lose, they develop a feeling of dissatisfaction from their jobs which in turn makes them mentally exhausted.

For this reason, research indicates that the oncology staff, predominantly the nurses, working in inpatient units develops a sense of compassion related stress which makes them highly vulnerable to burnout. The paper will explore various dimensions of burnout alongside measures that may be taken to deal with burnout or rather prevent the condition altogether. It is crucial to understand that the burnout stress prevalent in nurses working in the oncology department of hospitals is quite distinct from other forms of job-related stressors.

In this case, the compassion related stress originates as a result of mental exhaustion. The demands from the work experience tend to outweigh the resources available on the job since the nurses often get traumatized in their effort to help the patients. A better understanding of the effect of burnout experiences at work is critical in developing a framework to develop exemplary practices at the workplace and also at an individualistic level for nurses to deal with the stress effectively.

The literature review indicates that the emergence of the concept of burnout in nurses emerged in 1992 when behavioral characteristics were associated with nurses working in the emergency departments. The characteristics include irritability, chronic fatigue, dreadfulness, the elation of physical ailments, and most importantly the lack of joy in life. The issue with burnout is that it develops suddenly, without any kind of warnings, which develops a sense of confusion and helplessness amongst the nurses. Burnout is in itself a cumulative disorder that occurs as a result of stress-related stimulants from daily life.

Nowadays, research specifically on the nurses working in the oncology departments indicates that a state constituting mental, emotional as well as physical depletion occurs amongst these nurses where they fail to cope up with the environment. Since these nurses spend a typical day at work taking care of patients suffering from cancer which is incurable, they empathize with them and eventually develop a sense of affection with these patients (Syrilla 2014). Often, when they lose the patients, withdrawal symptoms emerge to deal with the stress which eventually accumulates after repeated intervals, which eventually begins affecting their work. Since the burnout disorder directly relates to well being of the nurses, also their retention and turnover rate at the hospitals, efforts are being made to deal with the issue, though as compared to the gravity of the issue the interventions are still insignificant.

The Accelerated Recovery Program (ARP) relied on an integrated and individualistic self-care system that aimed at identifying symptoms of burnout to help resolve them at an early stage (Henry 2014).

Another recent stress reduction program is functional currently which equips the participants with tools to cope with stress and illness while teaching them concepts related to mindfulness of their state of mind. Furthermore, researchers in the field are also proposing focused group interventions, since a support system may be formed if the nurses have similar cases to relate to, and thereby they can help each other. Thus, the healthcare practitioners and policymakers have now begun to understand the impact of these interventions given the holistic impact expected out of them. Furthermore, a few measures may be taken at the individualistic level or even at the hospital level; a few steps which the hospital may take to ensure that the effects of the burnout are being countered.

In this context, employees` assistance and wellness centers may be developed, along with active stress management programs to deal with the issues. Nurses groups or discussion sessions may also be encouraged where the peers or colleagues can engage and support each other over how to cope up with the burnout stress. These efforts may in turn be turned into institutions aimed at fatigue prevention and burnout management.

In addition, the nurses may also be encouraged to join hospital-sponsored fitness programs since the workout regime also acts as a constructive stress buster. The core values of such programs must be retreat and renewal to enhance rejuvenation of mind to keep the staff emotionally stable and healthy. Furthermore, imminent psychiatrists and psychologists suggest simple measures in this regard which can act as life-changers for such nurses dealing with issues. For instance, engagement in physical activity like walk for around 30 minutes a day may tend to reduce stress.

Similarly, nurses coping up with stress are suggested to eat healthy to keep their immune systems healthy. Furthermore, they must ensure a reduction in caffeine intake. Recreational activities are also recommended to stimulate emotions positive in nature to foresee how there are both positive as well as negative aspects to life. Also, meditation and other relaxation techniques may also prove to be helpful in the effective reduction of stressors. Taking vacations and planning the future may also arouse positive feelings amongst these nurses.

Having spiritual advisors around and seeking advice from mentors is also recommended. In other words, a deviation from negative thoughts that may emerge as a work routine in any way possible must be encouraged (Aycock & Boyle 2009). Lobbying for such measures in hospitals may prove to be imminent in dealing with nurse burnout at a mass level since lack of awareness poses the most prevalent threats currently. Thus, such efforts must be taken seriously to strengthen personnel engagement in the oncology departments of these hospitals. Conclusively, nurses working in the oncology department often care for patients suffering from cancer, where the survival rate is often close to none.

Also, the fact that these nurses get emotionally attached to their patients is indispensable, thus, on experiencing the loss of these patients they tend to acquire negative sentiments on their jobs. In other words, their job becomes a source of unpleasant thoughts and mental exhaustion. For this reason, there has been immense research in the area which indicates that the oncology staff, mainly comprised of these nurses working in inpatient units, develops feelings of unrest which causes stress, further attributing towards emotional burnout.

This burnout turns into a source of serious mental sickness amongst nurses, which enhances their turnover rate at their workplaces. For this reason, efforts are being made to deal with the issue, i.e. the interventions are being made in the area though they still may be insignificant. In this context, it is recommended to hold sessions involving nurses where group-based discussions can be encouraged. By virtue of these sessions, a chance may be allocated to the peers or colleagues to actively engage each other over coping techniques to deal with the burnout stress.

Furthermore, imminent psychiatrists and psychologists suggest simple measures in this regard which can act as life-changers for such nurses dealing with issues. Lobbying for such measures in hospitals is crucial to limit the ill effects of burnout stress as indicated in the paper, in order to incorporate best practices for personnel management.


Aycock, N., & Boyle, D. (2009). Interventions to manage compassion fatigue. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing,13(2), 183-191.

Henry, B. J. (January 01, 2014). Nursing burnout interventions: what is being done?.Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 18, 2, 211-4.

Sirilla, J. (January 01, 2014). Moral distress in nurses providing direct care on inpatient oncology units. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 18, 5, 536-41.

Sommer, R. A. (1981). The relationship between job satisfaction-dissatisfaction and burnout in oncology nurses.

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