Stress and burnout syndrome in hospital nurses: a descriptive study

Clarissa Maria Bandeira Bezerra1, Milva Maria Figueiredo De Martino1
1Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte


Aim: to check stress levels and the presence of the burnout syndrome in a population of nurses on day and night shifts in a hospital. Method: descriptive cross-sectional study with a quantitative approach, performed at the Hospital of Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte. Consists in applying questionnaires to nurses to obtain data through the form of socio-demographic data, then the instruments: the Bianchi scale to quantify the level of stress, and the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) to identify the presence of the burnout syndrome. The organization of data will involve the use of the Microsoft Windows Excel 2010 spreadsheets and will be analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 20.0. The data will be organized in tables and charts, and analyzed according to descriptive and inferential statistics.

Descriptors: Occupational Stress; Burnout; Nursing.


Changes in work practices in the health service occur daily. Nursing as a component of the area is subject to improvements as technological advancement, but also arise dissatisfactions - increased demand for services, competitiveness, and long working hours. These factors trigger stress and emotional changes that can directly affect the care provided to patients and the worker's own health(1).

Stress is defined as a set of sensibilities, and feelings of hate and nuisance that the subject feels and that can affect his psychological health, affecting his judgment and even his understanding of events. The change has both a psychological and a physical impact. Stress at work is defined as occupational or work-related stress, and appears in the worker's body because of the difficulty in developing his activities, added to the requirements of the service, becoming detrimental to his health and quality of life(2).

When work-related stress exceeds the adaptive levels and becomes chronic, it is given the name of the burnout syndrome. The term comes from the English ‘burn’ and ‘out’, and means someone who does not have more energy, is the collapse of the adaptive capacity of the individual, it has reached the limit of his efforts, no longer works, and is finally burned out. What characterizes this syndrome is the exhaustion of emotion, the loss of identity and the reduced relevance of work(3).

The nursing profession is stressful because of the requirements placed on staff, reduced number of staff in the team, long working hours (often double), daily contact with sick individuals, and death. With all these factors, the team area has been developing mental disorders in the last few years. The nurse, being responsible for the group, is a major cause for concern in this respect(3).

Thus, this study seeks to check the stress level of nurses and if there are disorder of professionals due to stress and the burnout syndrome among workers of different hospital shifts.

Given the above, it is appropriate that the importance of the study focuses on the health worker, who could be hit by mental disorders such as stress and the burnout syndrome, thereby endangering the health of teammates and of patients receiving their care. At the end of this research it is intended that we can create confronting strategies that will make the daily workload less stressful, contributing to the advancement of scientific knowledge in this subject, and strengthen the profession.



Check the level of stress and the presence of burnout syndrome in nurses on day and night shifts in the hospital context.


Sample sociodemographic data

Analyze the stress levels of nurses on day and night shifts;

Identify the presence of burnout syndrome and relate it to the stress levels in nursing staff on day and night shifts.


This is a descriptive study cross-sectional type, with a quantitative approach. Data collection will occur through the use of structured instruments for obtaining sociodemographic data, checking levels of stress (Bianchi Scale) and the presence of the burnout syndrome (Maslach Burnout Inventory - Human Services Survey, which uses the criteria of high levels in the dimensions "emotional exhaustion" and "depersonalization", and low level in terms of "personal fulfillment"). The location will be the University Hospital Onofre Lopes, with a potential study population of 118 nurses. As inclusion criteria they must be employed as a nurse at the hospital. The were excluded who were on vacation or in any license or sick leave at the time of data collection. The collection occurred between January and April 2016. The organization of the data will occur involve the use of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets Windows® 2010 version, and then analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 20.0. The descriptive analysis will be used to evaluate the collected results and provide a sample profile according to the variables studied. Frequency tables will be developed for categorical variables (gender and work shift, for example) with absolute frequency values (N) and percentages (%). For the comparison of categorical variables (double shifts and physical activity, for example) the Mann-Whitney test will be used in case of a lack of normal distribution, and the ANOVA test to observe the variability among the samples (sectors and stress, for example). The level of statistical significance adopted for the statistical tests to be considered significant is p <0.05. The project was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, under number 1313575.


  1. Aiken L, Sermeus W, Van den Heede K, Sloane D, Busse R, McKee M, et al. Patient safety, satisfaction, and quality of hospital care:cross sectional surveys of nurses and patients in 12 countries in Europe and the United States. BMJ [internet] 2012 [Cited 2016 March 1]; 344: 1717. Available from:
  2. Schimidt D. Modelo Demanda-Controle e estresse ocupacional entre profissionais de enfermagem: revisão integrativa. Rev. bras. enferm. [internet] 2013. [cited 2016 mar 1]; 66(5). Available from:
  3. Grazziano E, Bianchi E. Impacto do stress ocupacional e Burnout para enfermeiros. Enferm. glob. [internet] 2010 [cited 2016 mar 2] 30(18). Available from:

All authors participated in the phases of this publication in one or more of the following steps, in According to the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE, 2013): (a) substantial involvement in the planning or preparation of the manuscript or in the collection, analysis or interpretation of data; (b) preparation of the manuscript or conducting critical revision of intellectual content; (c) approval of the versión submitted of this manuscript. All authors declare for the appropriate purposes that the responsibilities related to all aspects of the manuscript submitted to OBJN are yours. They ensure that issues related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the article were properly investigated and resolved. Therefore, they exempt the OBJN of any participation whatsoever in any imbroglios concerning the content under consideration. All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest of financial or personal nature concerning this manuscript which may influence the writing and/or interpretation of the findings. This statement has been digitally signed by all authors as recommended by the ICMJE, whose model is available in

Received: 03/23/2016 Revised: 04/26/2016 Approved: 04/26/2016