Burnout and resilience in critical care nurses: A grounded theory of Managing Exposure

Jennifer Jackson, Virginia Vandall-Walker, Brandi Vanderspank-Wright, Paul Wishart, Sharon L. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Many critical care nurses experience burnout; however, resilience shows promise as a potential solution to burnout. This study was conducted to better understand nurse burnout and resilience in response to workplace adversity in critical care.

A grounded theory investigation, using the Corbin and Strauss methodology. Participants engaged in qualitative, open-ended interviews about burnout and resilience.

A multi-site, urban, teaching hospital in Canada.

11 female critical care nurses, with 1–30+ years of critical care experience.

Burnout and resilience can be understood as indicators in a process of responding to workplace adversity. Workplace adversity can take many forms and has a negative impact on nurses. Nurses must be aware of this impact to take action. The process of Managing Exposure is how nurses address workplace adversity, using variety of techniques: protecting, processing, decontaminating, and distancing. The indicators of this process for nurses are thriving, resilience, survival and burnout. Organisational policies can impact on this process.

Resilience and burnout are connected, as indicators of the same process for critical care nurses. Nurse leaders can intervene throughout this process to reduce workplace adversity and support resilience among nurses.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIntensive and Critical Care Nursing
Early online date20 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Burnout
  • Critical care
  • Grounded theory
  • Nursing
  • Resilience


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