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J Nurs Manag. 2009 Nov;17(7):886-97. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2834.2008.00883.x.

When does nursing burnout begin? An investigation of the fatigue experience of Australian nursing students.

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1
School of Psychology, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA 5073, Australia.

Abstract

AIM:

Investigation of chronic maladaptive fatigue evolution among a large group of Australian Bachelor of Nursing (BN) degree students.

BACKGROUND:

The training of Australian nurses has changed from a salaried, 'apprenticeship' structure (usually including accommodation) to a University-based (fee paying) degree. Relatively little is known about how these changes have impacted on the strain and fatigue experience of nursing students.

METHOD:

A large group of Australian nursing students across 3 years of a BN course (n = 431) participated in an internet-based cross-sectional design study.

FINDINGS:

Levels of maladaptive fatigue, and poor recovery, increased across the course. By its completion, up to 20% of graduates were reporting signs of serious maladaptive fatigue/stress.

CONCLUSIONS:

Contemporary nurse training places many students under significant psycho-social stress. Need to work for personal support as well as study and absence of adequate training in managing these strains appears to underpin this experience.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING MANAGEMENT:

Nurse Managers need to be alert to the fact that new Graduate Nurse Probationer (GNP) year (or its local equivalent) nurses may already be suffering from significant stress/fatigue. To prevent this progressing to more severe states and potential premature quitting the profession, provision of adequate mentoring and guidance in effective stress management may be essential.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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