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Depress Anxiety. 2009;26(12):1118-26. doi: 10.1002/da.20631.

The prevalence and impact of post traumatic stress disorder and burnout syndrome in nurses.

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Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado 80045, USA.



To determine whether post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and burnout syndrome (BOS) are common in nurses, and whether the co-existence of PTSD and BOS is associated with altered perceptions of work and nonwork-related activities.


University hospital nurses were administered four validated psychological questionnaires.


The response rate was 41% (332/810). Twenty two percent (73/332) had symptoms of PTSD, 18% (61/332) met diagnostic criteria for PTSD, and 86% (277/323) met criteria for BOS. Ninety eight percent (59/60) of those fulfilling diagnostic criteria for PTSD were positive for BOS. When grouped into three categories: positive for PTSD and BOS (n=59), positive for BOS and negative for PTSD (n=217), and negative for both BOS and PTSD (n=46), there were significant differences in the years of employment as a nurse (P<.0001), perceptions of collaborative nursing care (P=.006), confidence in physicians (P=.01), and perception that their work impacted patient outcomes (P=.01). Nurses with BOS and PTSD were significantly more likely to have difficulty in their life outside of the work environment when compared to those with BOS alone.


We identified that PTSD and BOS are common in nurses and those with PTSD will almost uniformly have symptoms of BOS. Co-existence of PTSD and BOS has a dramatic effect on work and nonwork related activities and perceptions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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