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West J Nurs Res. 2008 Aug;30(5):560-77. doi: 10.1177/0193945907311322. Epub 2008 Jan 9.

Nurse burnout and patient safety outcomes: nurse safety perception versus reporting behavior.

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  • 1University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, WI, USA.


This article examines the relationship between nurse burnout and patient safety indicators, including both safety perceptions and reporting behavior. Based on the Conservation of Resources model of stress and burnout, it is predicted that burnout will negatively affect both patient safety perceptions and perceived likelihood of reporting events. Nurses from a Veteran's Administration hospital completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory and safety outcomes subset of measures from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Patient Safety Culture measure. After controlling for work-related demographics, multiple regression analysis supported the prediction that burnout was associated with the perception of lower patient safety. Burnout was not associated with event-reporting behavior but was negatively associated with reporting of mistakes that did not lead to adverse events. The findings extend previous research on the relationship between burnout and patient outcomes and offer avenues for future research on how nurse motivation resources are invested in light of their stressful work environment.

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