Comparison of Caring Ability and Burnout in Critical Care Nurses

Background: The caring relationship between nurse and patient is an essential part of the nursing process. Literature supports that both caring ability and burnout can have significant effects on the caring relationships in the nursing profession. Duffy’s (2013) Quality Caring Model is relationship-centered professional practice. Using Duffy’s model of caring relationships as a conceptual framework and Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), this study examined the relationship between caring ability and burnout among critical care nurses at a large, teaching medical center. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a relationship between caring ability and burnout in a group of critical care nurses. Methods: Using a descriptive, correlational survey design, participants completed a demographics form, the MBI and the Caring Ability Inventory (CAI). The MBI tool has 3 subscales-Personal Accomplishment (MBI-PA), Depersonalization (MBI-DP) and Emotional Exhaustion (MBI-EE). The CAI has 3 subscales –Patience (CAI-P), Knowing (CAI-K), and Courage (CAI-C). The data was analyzed with SPSS using Pearson and Spearman rho correlations as appropriate. Results: Eighty-four RNs responded. Demographics included 80% female, 10 average years of experience as a critical RN, 62% med-surg ICU. All of the caring subscales were weakly to moderately, positively correlated with the MBI-PA subscale (p<.05). The CAI-K and CAI-C subscales were weakly, negatively correlated with MBI-DP (p<.05). Only CAI-C was significantly correlated with MBI-EE (r=-.236, p<.05). Findings: The positively correlated CAI and MBI subscales show that patience, courage and knowing increase along with increases in personal achievement. Conceptually, Depersonalization appeared to decrease as Knowing and Courage increased. Emotional Exhaustion decreased with increases in Courage. The results signify that a relationship exists between caring ability and burnout in critical care nurses and with this understanding the potential to decrease burnout with interventions focused on promoting caring may exist.