Evaluation of occupational stress and burnout syndrome in nurses of an intensive care unit: a qualitative study


Intensive Care Unit


The objective of this study was to evaluate occupational stress factors experienced by nurses working in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and to identify the existence of signs and symptoms of the Burnout Syndrome in nurses of an Intensive Care Unit. There is currently great concern about the physical and emotional health of workers employed in hospital institutions. Among the hospital staff, the largest number consists of nursing personnel, being nurses a high percentage of the total amount. These nurses work under a heavy load of physical and emotional fatigue. The Intensive Care Unit (ICU), designed to treat critical patients, also generates exhausting physical and emotional situations, which leads us to try to understand better the situations which generate nurses’ professional-occupational stress. Thus, a descriptive, transversal exploratory field research was conducted in a major hospital with 26 nurses of a general Intensive Care Unit with 32 beds for adults. The collection of data was undertaken by the researcher; one questionnaire to categorize the population and two self-reported inventories were used. One of them evaluates stress and is composed of two parts: the first one is the Nursing Stress Inventory (NSI) and the second one is called Job Satisfaction. The other inventory, MBI-Maslach Burnout Inventory, was used in this study to assess signs and symptoms of the Burnout Syndrome. The data were analyzed according to the categorization of the population, and the forms were divided into specific subscales, being evaluated and discussed according to the greater incidence of answers. The results obtained showed that this kind of population must cope with stressful situations at work, presenting some signs and symptoms that might lead the professional to develop Burnout Syndrome. However, until the time of data collection, this population demonstrates a feeling of professional achievement, and 71.5% of them are satisfied with their job.