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Burnout among critical care nurses and the role of ICU telemedicine

Kuza, Courtney (2018) Burnout among critical care nurses and the role of ICU telemedicine. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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OBJECTIVE: Nurses are hubs of patient care in Intensive Care Units (ICUs), yet they are prone to burnout because of job stressors and complex organizational environments of ICUs.  Burnout is a state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion caused by prolonged exposure to stress in the workplace.  The public health relevance of this work is changing patient demographics and staffing shortages increase nurses’ strain, yet few evidence-based interventions targeting burnout in this population exist.  ICU telemedicine, audiovisual technology to remotely provide critical care services, is designed to alleviate resource deficits in ICUs for better patient care; it may impact burnout in critical care nurses.  This research explores critical care nurses’ perceptions of burnout and the role of ICU telemedicine in burnout, as well as relationships between characteristics of nurses and modes of support offered by telemedicine. 
METHODS: This study includes 118 critical care nurses who completed semi-structured interviews and demographic questionnaires in a study about ICU telemedicine.  ICU and telemedicine unit directors completed a questionnaire about unit characteristics.  Content analysis was performed on interview data; descriptive statistics and Chi-square analysis was performed on quantitative data. 
RESULTS: Nurses reported that burnout felt like overwhelming stress and disengagement, and common coping strategies were voicing concerns with coworkers and seeking employment outside the ICU.  Nurses cited moral distress, compassion fatigue, physical difficulties, interactions with physicians, and tasks that take them away from the bedside as common determinants of burnout. 
Nurses noted that ICU telemedicine can support new ICU nurses, as well as older nurses no longer able to work there by providing another mechanism for delivering patient care.  Telemedicine also contributes informational and instrumental support for bedside nurses. 
Moderate associations were found between types of support offered by telemedicine and characteristics of nurses and their workplaces.  Nurses with more knowledge of and interaction with the telemedicine unit were more likely to endorse it for support. 
CONCLUSION: ICU telemedicine can potentially alleviate burnout among critical care nurses.  Organizations implementing ICU telemedicine should develop programs that enhance types of supports valued by nurses, such as mentoring, career transitions for older nurses, and instrumental support.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kuza, Courtneycoc9@pitt.educoc90000-0001-9137-0928
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairAlbert, Stevensmalbert@pitt.edusmalbert
Committee MemberTerry, Marthamaterry@pitt.edumaterry
Committee MemberFelter, Elizabethemfelter@pitt.eduemfelter
Committee MemberKahn, Jeremyjeremykahn@pitt.edujmk190
Date: 30 January 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 28 August 2017
Approval Date: 30 January 2018
Submission Date: 26 November 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 135
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: telemedicine, critical care medicine, nursing, burnout
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2018 22:43
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2018 22:43


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