Burnout syndrome among multinational nurses working in Saudi Arabia

Haifa A Al-Turki, Rasha A Al-Turki, Hiba A Al-Dardas, Manal R Al-Gazal, Ghada H Al-Maghrabi, Nawal H Al-Enizi, Basema A Ghareeb
Annals of African Medicine 2010, 9 (4): 226-9

BACKGROUND: Nursing Staff is reported to be under extreme state of stress, leading to burnout syndrome (BS). Most of the studies have been conducted among the nurses working in their home countries. This study was conducted to assess the prevalence of BS among a multinational nursing workforce in Saudi Arabia.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: King Fahd University Hospital, AlKhobar, Saudi Arabia, is a tertiary care hospital employing 510 nurses of multinational workforce. Two hundred and fifty Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) individual-based questionnaires were distributed after modification to include the age, sex, marital status, nationality, unit working and number of years on the job. The data were entered in the database and analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), version 14.0. A P value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant.

RESULTS: One hundred and ninety-eight nurses (77.2%) completed the questionnaire. Their average age was 34.46 ± 5.36 years. Forty-five percent (89) had high emotional exhaustion (EE) and 28.9% (57) had moderate suffering with EE. Staffs who were on the job for longer duration had a lesser frequency of EE (P ≤ 0.001). The frequency of depersonalization (DP) was 83 (42%) and was graded as high and 61 (30.8%) were moderately affected. Personal accomplishment (PA) was moderate to low in the majority of the nurses (71.5%). Married nurses were prone to EE (28.17 ± 12.1 versus 22.3 ± 9.6) than unmarried nurses (P = 0.003, CI 95% and OR 2.4). The nurses in the patients' wards and clinics were more emotionally exhausted with higher DP compared to nurses in the high stress and high activity areas (P < 0.001, OR -11.1; and P < 0.001, CI 95% and OR 9.65). Non-Saudi nurses were significantly more prone to EE (27.3 ± 12.1 versus 21.6 ± 2.9) than Saudi nurses (P = 0.004; 95% CI: <9.64).

CONCLUSION: We found that majority of the nursing staff at our hospital were in a state of burnout with high frequency of EE and DP. Only a quarter of the surveyed staff felt that they had some level of PA. Age and working away from their home countries were the important predictors in the development of BS in nurses. We believe that working conditions have to be improved to develop strategies to cope and alleviate stressful situations.

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