Factors that contributed to burnout among intensive care nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic in Saudi Arabia: A constructivist grounded theory

Nawal Alzailai*, Louise Barriball, Andreas Xyrichis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Intensive care unit (ICU) nurses experience high levels of burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic due to multiple stressors. It has long been known that burnout is negatively associated with patient and staff outcomes. Understanding the triggers for intensive care nurses’ burnout during the pandemic can help to develop appropriate mitigation measures. Objective: The objective of this study was to examine intensive care nurses’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic in Saudi Arabia to develop insights into the factors that influenced burnout. Methods: The study was informed by a constructivist grounded theory design. The study was conducted in an adult ICU in a tertiary hospital in the Makkah province in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. All participants were registered nurses with at least 6 months’ experience in intensive care and experienced caring for COVID-19 patients. Findings: This paper reports on preliminary findings from interviews with 22 intensive care nurses. A core category ‘pandemic pervasiveness’ was identified from the interview data, which makes reference to the ever-present nature of the pandemic beyond the ICU context. Family, work, and the wider world context are the three groups of contextual factors that influenced nurses' experience and perception of burnout. Conclusion: Many issues identified from the findings in this study can be attributed to shortages in the intensive care nursing workforce. Thus, we join others in calling for healthcare organisations and policymakers to be creative in finding new ways to meet nurses' needs, motivate, and empower them to maintain and sustain the nursing workforce in highly demanding areas, such as ICUs. Nursing managers can play a crucial role in mitigating nurses’ burnout by identifying and tackling sources of stress that exist among their staff, specifically team conflict, workplace harassment, and discrimination.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAUSTRALIAN CRITICAL CARE
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2022

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