Exploring the relationship between access to nature views and nurse burnout

Date

2019-08

Authors

Mihandoust, Sahar

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Abstract

This study aims to investigate the relationship between visual access to nature and nurse burnout in nurse work and break environments. This study explored the question: What is the relationship between the ease and frequency of access to nature views in the nurse’s work and break environments and nurse burnout? Nurse burnout is a negative outcome of stressful hospital environments and is a severe problem among nurses; nurse burnout impacts absenteeism, nurse performance, and leads to medical errors. Literature shows a relationship between stress and burnout, and between nature exposure and stress. However, literature surrounding strategies to reduce nurse burnout mostly includes operational interventions, and there is a gap in literature examining a possible consequent relationship between connection to nature and nurse burnout. To address the aforementioned gap, the present study explored the relationship between visual access to nature in nurse work and break areas and nurse burnout. Data were collected using MBI (Maslach burnout inventory), SACL (Stress/Arousal Adjective Checklist), NWI (Nurse Work Index), and a self-report on nurses’ demographics and their perception of their working environment from 51 nurses in six intensive care units in a large Tertiary Care Hospital. Quantitative data were analyzed statistically to examine the relationship between connection to nature, nurse stress, and nurse burnout. This study also explored the best predicting set of variables for nurse stress and burnout.

Study findings showed a moderate negative correlation between duration of nature views and two nurse burnout sub-scales. Nurses who perceived longer durations of nature views had lower levels of after-shift stress; these nurses also demonstrated lower levels on two sub-scales of burnout – emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. Nature views were found to be among the top predictor for nurses’ emotional exhaustion and depersonalization (p<0.05). This study found that all the nurses who had decreased levels of post-shift stress and low scores for nurse burnout sub-scales perceived exterior views (nature content) for 18% of their 12-hour shift. The results of this study recommend perceiving nature views both as an independent intervention or an integrated intervention to meditation and relaxation techniques. From a design standpoint, this study suggests that a unit and break room design, which accommodates easy and frequent access to exterior nature views, could work as a consistent preventive intervention for nurse burnout.

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Keywords

Nurse burnout, Environmental design, Nature views

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